Grandfather. The dictionary would define you as a noun, the father of one's mother or father. To me, you were so much more. You were just as the word sounds a grand father. You were a man you didn't have to be and from a very young age I even thought that you were my 'father' and chose to call you Dad until they broke me of that habit. As far back as I can remember it was me and you, together, against the world. Where ever you were, I wanted to be, whatever you were doing, I did too. I can remember sitting in the chair with you watching T.V. and falling asleep on your "water bed" as we called your belly. I can remember 'helping' you pack your supper to take into Maytag. I'm sure I wasnt much help but you never said a thing, you always just let me help you.
To me, even from a young young age you were untouchable, unbreakable. The man who knew everyone and everything. My hero. I didnt realize back then that carrying that belief with me my whole life would make losing you even harder. You always said "its along ways from your heart". But this pain Grandpa, its right in the middle of my heart and it doesn't go away. If you were here you would tell me to suck it up, and that everything will be ok.
I remember the first time you called me girl, I thought it was your little nickname for me. I quickly realized that you called us all girl, so you didn't have to remember our names! There are things that were just between me and you though Gramps. Like stopping at Jersey Freeze on our way back from Red Rock and you saying "shh don't tell Nannie" or when you would pick me up from school sick and stop at Burger King to get me french friends and a strawberry shake. You always said the salt would fix my throat and the shake was to chase the fries! But secertly you knew that when we got home and you went to work, Nannie would make me drink warm 7-up and gargle salt water all night long. We also never told Nannie about the time you made Hamburger Helper that was so bad we both spit it out and laughed and laughed and then went and ate at Midtown. What about the time I came home crying because Chad and the other neighbor boys wouldn't let me play. You told me "girl, you've got your whole life to chase boys, now one thing you need to learn is you need to let them chase you too". So that next day I came back crying again, this time all bloodied up, and between Nannies screams you asked me what happend, I told you I was pedaling on my bike as fast as I could so the boys would be chasing me. Once Nannie left the bathroom to get more towels you high-fived me and said "that's my girl!" There are so many moments just like that Grandpa. I could go on and on. I will never forget you whispering into my ear at my first prom that I would be the prettiest girl at the dance, or when you told me on move in day at college that this was one of the proudest moments of your life. There are so many things that I will remember about you Grandpa, so many things that you have taught me, engraved in me, and built for me.
As my life went on you always told me I didn't have to make time for you. You knew I was busy and you wanted me to be out with my friends and enjoying life. Grandpa there is nothing I would have rather been doing then sitting outside with you scratching away a crossword lottery ticket, or sitting inside laughing and talking with you. There is nothing better in life to me then to hear your stories and your adventures. But the greatest thing I liked to hear was you telling me you loved me. You always said there was no joy like the joy your Grandkids have brought you, and Grandpa there is no joy like the joy you have brought us.
A couple months before you started getting really sick, we laid in your bed and talked about life. You told me to make sure I take time to live. You said money makes you happy and takes the worry away, but you found out the first time you ever held Afton that there is time for worry, because when you look into your families eyes all the worry goes away. You told me to make sure I take risks, and not be afraid to fail. You told me you could never be disappointed in me and I can fail as many times as I want, as long as I succeed that one time. You told me to make sure I marry a boy who loves his Mom, you didn't care if your boys were mama-boys because if he isn't a mama-boy he isn't a good boy. But you did tell me to make sure I let that boy know that you could still shoot a shot gun from heaven, and if he ever hurt your little girl, you wouldn't be afraid to make some noise. I told you I couldn't imagine life without you, and there was so much I didn't know how to do, because you always did it for me. You told me I would learn, and if I ever needed any help to look beside me, because you would be standing there helping me. You asked me to make you two promises that day, and I told you I didn't make promises I couldn't keep. Grandpa, I told you I couldn't promise you I wouldn't hurt, because this is the greatest pain I have ever felt, but I will always keep up our other promise. You told me that day the greatest worry you had was not being able to walk your little girl down the aisle. You made me promise you I would never let anybody else walk me down the aisle because you would be there with me walking each step with me. And Grandpa I promise you, when that day comes, well let's be serious here, IF that day every comes, I will walk down that aisle with YOU, walking each step with me.
So Gramps, today I hurt, but tomorrow, tomorrow I will pull up my big girl panties and I will deal with it. Just like you always told me too. I will continue living life the way you wanted me too and I will continue to grow into the beautiful woman you alway said I would be. But one thing that will never change, I will always be your baby girl. I love you more than anything in the world!