A Letter to my Paw-Paw
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A Letter to my Paw-Paw

My grandfather departed from this Earth in October, and this holiday has been anything but easy for us.

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Hi Paw-Paw,

It is Christmas Eve, and it is hard to believe that you won't be here tomorrow for our family Christmas. This will be the first serious holiday you've missed since you left us, and I would give anything to hug and see you. It just doesn't feel like the holidays without you. I have missed your teasing tremendously, because I miss walking into your house and not hearing your quick jokes. You constantly brought laughter into all of life, and it feels like we are missing a part of joy without you. I know that mom has really felt the toll of your passing, but she is going to be well taken care of I promise. I know before you unexpectantly passed that it was like God was sending me a warning. I had an inkling that we would lose you soon, but I hadn't expected it that soon. I am just thankful that you did not suffer any longer than you had to. The day that you passed, I held your hand and promised to carry on your light and laughter, but I have really struggled with that lately. It just doesn't feel right to smile and enjoy the holidays without you here. I have been listening to your favorite 50s and 60s music recently to try and feel your presence, but it will never feel the same without your fingers rampantly tapping along to the music or your soft blue eyes focused on the beat.

You were always more than a grandfather to me. You were the closest thing I had to a dad. You were always checking on me, telling me how proud you were, and making sure I knew how loved I was. You were the last earthly protector I had left. I wasn't ready for you to leave, no matter how long I waited for it to happen. Honestly, I could have never prepared myself for the big gap in my life that would form. At my 20th birthday party, you handed me my birthday card with a smile on your face. You asked if I noticed the little heart you put above the "i," but then your mood shifted, and I will never forget what you said next. You said, "Well sweetie, you know me and Mimi love you. I remember after your dad died, you came up to your mother and I asked if we would ever be happy again. It took all of your mother's strength not to breakdown. You have been resilient from the very beginning, and you will continue to take your challenges in stride. I am proud of you, and I love you more than you will ever know." To this day, your words continue to circle around my head. No one could have seen your stroke coming, but somehow you gave me a piece of peace that I could have never asked for.

Everyday something reminds me of you. You were the most selfless, honorable, funny, hardworking, and thoughtful man that I have ever known. I miss getting random texts or calls from you to check on me and my baby, Rose (my cat). You used to tell me that you hoped my crappy days would turn into diamonds. I remember when I'd leave your house that you'd shake my hand in a professional manner, tell me that you kind of like me, then pull me into a hug. You always kept me laughing with a smile on my face. I still smell one of your flannel shirts, hoping that I will smell a little comfort of you. You always found a way to make me feel grounded and safe. I always felt loved by you, and I will miss that feeling.

I could go on for days talking about you, but I know I need to go back to living for you. I usually have better days than today, but I just really miss you. This home feels empty without you here to crack jokes and create a deep conversation. I hope I am able to carry on your life of light, love, and laughter to those around me. You are the greatest man that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and I know that our little family misses you with all of our being.

I love you more than you will ever know,

Caroline (Rat-Rat, as you liked to say)

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