My mom’s dad is famous in our family.
He had the bluest eyes, the biggest heart, and the greatest sense of humor. Mom always swore “Oh Lyss, he would’ve just loved you. He loved feisty girls.” To her and his 7 other kids’ dismay, my grandpa lost his life to lung cancer while my mother was a senior in high school. I think about him every single day, which is probably foreign to some people considering the fact that I had never even met him.
While I’ve always struggled watching other people spend time with their grandfathers, this past weekend at church I saw a grandpa holding his little granddaughter and it helped me to finally realize that the relationship I have my grandfather is just as special although it was never concrete.
This letter is for all the things you’ve done for me, and the great impact you’ve had on my life even though your actual body was never present in it. You taught me that you can love someone regardless.
I always see the quote on Pinterest that says something along the lines of “I’m in love with cities that I’ve never been to and people that I’ve never met.” While this is something that I a.) probably would’ve reblogged on Tumblr circa freshman year of high school and b.) often now cringe at when I see it on Twitter as it’s very cliché and overused, I realize that in a very non-trendy and non-basic way it can be completely true.
I never actually met my grandpa, but I know in every connotation and definition of the word that I love him. I love stories about him. I love pictures of him. I love picturing how life would’ve been if he could’ve been around in my life.
Somehow… someway… I just know that all of these equates to actually loving the person that he was. I feel a connection to him that I know was not just made up in my own head, and I’m thankful that through picturing him I have realized that it is not crazy to know that I love him.
Your imagination does not have an age limit, and anyone who disagrees probably has a lot less fun because sometimes reality sucks. My grandpa allowed me to picture a perfect fantasy and relationship with him, and although none of it can actually happen in the physical world around me, you made me a passionate person.
Plain and simple, cancer is actually the thing that I hate most in this world. I hate that cancer took my grandpa from me, and I hate that it takes away grandpas, aunts, uncles, moms, dads, brothers and sisters every single day.
Through your loss, though, I realize that it’s important for me to try and make a difference so a little girl in the future won’t have to write an open letter like this one. I joined Relay for Life in high school, and now in college I actively try to raise money for cancer research in hopes of letting that little girl someday in the future be able to meet her grandpa instead of writing an open letter like this one.
Grandpa D, you helped me realize that I want to help change the world, and that while I can’t do it alone, I should totally try. You taught me that being who I am is totally okay.
I’m a feisty person. Sometimes to my own detriment. To my mom’s dismay during my teenage years, I’m often way out of line. I say stuff that I shouldn’t. I tell it how it is. I’m unapologetically outspoken, and this probably won’t change throughout my lifetime.
But, because of my grandpa, I know that’s okay. Mom always said that my grandpa would’ve loved me because I was feisty, and didn’t take anyone’s crap. “He loved feisty girls, you two would’ve been peas in a pod.”
Through this, I realized that my bold (and sometimes too-blunt-for-my-own-good) personality was totally okay, because it’s part of me. I only wish that I could’ve met my Grandpa because maybe somebody would finally understand my totally blunt sense of humor and maybe laugh at my jokes.
You taught me that family is the most important thing, and that they’ll never leave you. Grandpa D, I don’t know how you did it. Eight kids is a lot, and our big Italian family is one that definitely must’ve caused you some frustrations. We’re loud. We’re crazy. We eat a lot. We play lots of card games. We laugh a lot.
You raised and created a family that is incredibly strong, and through hardships has banded together.
Thank you for helping me to realize that no matter the circumstance, your family will always be true and constant. You created the most wonderful family, and I count my blessings each and every day that I became a piece of this puzzle.
Lastly, thank you for teaching me about trying to live and the legacy you leave. At the end of your life, all that really matters are the memories you made, and the lives that you touched. You’ll be known by the stories that are told about you, and you can’t personally advocate for yourself about the type of person that you were anymore.
I know that my grandpa, to be blunt (shocker, I know), kicked ass and took names just from stories that I’ve heard. I know all of these things about him, just because that is what has been told to me.
Realizing this, even at an early age I wanted to be remembered fondly when my life does come to an end. Life is so much more than the things you buy, or own, or being the most famous or popular. In the end, your legacy is all you can leave, and my Grandpa helped me to realize that my actions everyday affect exactly how I will be remembered by the people on this Earth one day. Thank you, Grandpa D, for helping me try to be the very best person I can be. …..
For all these things and more, thank you for being who you were, and who you still are. I know for certain you watched every single dance recital from a cloud up in Heaven. Heck, you may be even watching over me right now as I type this blog post in Jittery Joes (and if you are, sorry that I’m procrastinating on this history homework). I love you to Heaven and back, Grandpa D.
You’re the best grandpa I could have ever asked for, and that’s something I’m certain of.