To My Dearest Grandpa,
I remember when I was little, and I would come to your house. You used to sneak me across the street when Grandma wasn’t looking and buy me ice cream. You used to always make me laugh and tell me silly jokes that everyone else thought I wouldn’t understand. You bought me pretty dresses and made me feel like a princess. Staying at your house all the time was like heaven to me. You and Grandma were my favorite people in the world.
As I grew, you helped me learn how to take care of your garden, how to make a perfect martini, and what to say to boys. You taught me how to swear, how to spit and how to make the perfect homemade bread.
When the phone call came that my dad had died, it was your house I was at. It was your chair I snuggled in and bawled my heart out in. It was your half gallon of ice cream I ate. It was your arms that held me. It was your strong arms that carried my small body to bed, exhausted from hours of crying. It was your strength and wisdom and love that helped me to manage and get through the funeral.
When Grandma died, I was only 13, and not really old enough to understand or offer you the comfort you so needed. We grew apart, and I grew up. Through the years we met at holidays, laughed, played and smiled, but without Grandma, the sparkle in your eyes was gone.
I grew older, moved out, married, had babies. Oh, the joy on your face when you held them in your arms. You looked so young again and so full of life. The sparkle in your eye twinkled for a moment or two and then blinked out again.
More years passed, my babies grew, and we grew further apart. The whole family has. I know I don’t come visit as often as I should, and I am sorry for that.
But this last Saturday was magic. Seeing you. Spending time at your house that I should have spent a long time ago. Seeing my daughter in your arms the way I used to sit there. Seeing my boys eat your ice cream like I used to. Seeing the sparkle in your eye and the roar of your laugh. It was like the past all over again.
I just wanted to take this chance to say I love you. To say thank you. To say that you will always be in my heart as the best grandpa ever. I am glad I had the chance to hear you laugh again. I am glad I had the chance to have you hold me in your arms again. I am glad that I got to see children laughing and playing in your house. Yes, I saw the sparkle in your eyes. Thank you, Grandpa, for bringing so much magic into my life over the last 30 years….
Edited to add: He passed away in 2000, but this letter will forever remind me of that day.
Until next time…