I have to tell you something that has been weighing on my mind. The night before you passed away, we were at your house visiting. The girls were trying so hard to be quiet because they knew that you needed your rest. I thought about letting Elsie come in to see you in your room. It was hard…very, very hard. You were thin and you were fragile; not the Grandpa she would remember. I ultimately decided against it.
When we got home that night, Ro and I sat Elsie down and told her that you were very sick and that you would be going to Heaven to be with Jack, our dog. We told her that you would not be sick anymore in Heaven. She was very upset and said she didn’t get to say goodbye. I assured her that she could, that it wasn’t too late, and we would go see you so she could say what she needed.
The next day was a good day. We talked daily about how you were feeling and that day was good. You had gotten out of bed and sat in your chair. When Uncle Russ said ‘good morning’, you shocked us all when you happily responded. Roland and I had talked about stopping over there with the kids and we knew that Jenn and Kelly would be going too. We were mulling about the house when we got the call.
Elsie keeps asking me when you will be coming back from Heaven. She wants to know that when you are not sick anymore, you will be coming back. She doesn’t know you are gone yet… and I’m not ready to tell her that you are.
At night, I lay awake in bed and think about you. I am fearful we won’t do a good job keeping your memory alive. I want them to know how easy it was to love you. I want them to know how cuddly you were but also how sassy you could be. I want them to know that you would have done anything for anyone and I hope they grow up with this trait. I want them to know your strength, your intelligence, and your courageousness.
Ugh. It sucks.
Here are a few things I am certain of:
I know that it has been hard. Even your worst day was better than any hour that you’ve been gone.
I know it’s only been 4 weeks but it feels like months. I know some days are easier than others but that the hard days are just about unbearable.
I know that the saddest day cannot be matched but I know we will get close.
I know that the road ahead will be challenging.
I know that one day, my daughter will find out that Heaven is a place you don’t return from. Right now, I know she thinks she will see you again.
I know that one day I will struggle to remember what your voice sounded like. I know there will be a time that the recordings and videos we have will seem artificial and I will ache for the real thing.
I know when we go cut down our tree this year, we will long for your presence. We will honor your tradition and take the route you liked to take.
Oh how sorry I am that I didn’t give Elsie a chance to see you that night. I’m sorry that I walked past your room and didn’t go in. I didn’t want it to be real. I am still struggling with how fast it happened. I still feel like I didn’t get to grieve your loss. I feel like your services were so busy and filled with words and tears but no goodbyes.
I hope you are resting easy. I hope the sweets in Heaven aren’t too sweet. I hope the cars are all red and the trees are all perfect. I hope there are vibrant, beautiful birds and I hope they live in the most majestic birdhouses. I hope the cigars are endless and the pools are always open. I hope the fish are all biting your lines and the water is warm. I hope the grill is always open and that you are the one with the spatula.
I hope you are able to look down and feel proud of the families that are all here because of you.