A Letter To The Grandfather That I Miss Tremendously

A Letter To The Grandfather That I Miss Tremendously

I hope you are doing well in Heaven.
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Dear Grandpa,

It's been a little over half a year since you have passed, and there are a few things I want to say.

I'm sorry.

The last time I saw you, I was not at my best. I was crying and getting sick in the bathroom. I couldn't bring myself to accept the fact that this was going to be the last time I saw you. I thought that maybe if I didn't give you a hug good-bye, that you wouldn't leave. I gave you a hug at the end of the afternoon and left, holding back tears. I knew it wouldn't be the last time I would see you, but it would be the last time I could hold a conversation with you, or hug you, or see your lively eyes.

I regret not going over to your house on my own more. My excuse was that I was young and could not go to your favorite place with you: Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I couldn't drink gin martinis with you, but I could play card games with you.

When I was younger, I would sit at your feet and play solitaire with you. We would talk and laugh. I also remember doing a report on you when I was still in middle school; it was about your time serving in the Army. They presented that book at your funeral for people to read while we waited for mass.

I held it together so well at the funeral until I saw the military memorial video, that's when I lost it. You were such a brave man and an amazing role model. Your wife loved you so much, that's why you were married over 65 years. You have amazing children and grandchildren as well.

The grandchildren live all over the United States now. Some are still in school, others have their own businesses, or are pursing different hobbies. But, we were all there together to say our final good-byes.

Your funeral truly was amazing. You had the American flag laid by your feet, and a bottle of gin and a cigar at your head. We sang "Home on the Range" for you, as the whole church fought back tears. Once the ceremony was over, we all went outside in the brisk February air. Taps was played and the twenty-one gun salute went off over our heads.

We had met at the veterans cemetery one last time. Your ashes were placed right next to Grandma's. You two must have really loved each other, you passed away on the same date, February 25th, just five years apart. I can only hope and pray to have a love like that.

Months later, we were able to visit your site at the cemetery and see the new plaque they had made for you and Grandma, it was beautiful.

I miss you, Grandpa, and I've never missed any passed family member like this. I hope you are doing well up in heaven. Save me a spot for when it's my time. You're going to have to save a lot of spots, actually, considering we have a very big family.

It's not the same without you. The family isn't the same, but that's okay. We're doing well, down here. I'm still in school and got a new job. I'm moving home once I graduate, so I'll be closer to you and be able to visit you. I hope you're doing well. I miss you, and I'm sorry.

Disclaimer: This is not relatable to every Grandfather out there, but I had some words I wanted to get off my chest. My Grandfather was such a big part of my life and I miss him tremendously. Give your Grandparents more time while they are still here; you don't want to have any regrets once they are gone.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Biro

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An Open Letter to the Best Friend I Didn't See Coming

Some people come into your life and change you forever—thanks, bestie.
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Dear best friend,

I wasn't expecting you when God placed you in my life. I had my friends. I had my people. I wasn't exactly open to the idea of new meaningful friendships because I had the ones I needed, and it didn't seem like I really needed anybody new.

Thank God that was false. Sometimes you meet people and you just know that you're going to be good friends with. Sometimes you meet people and you realize that there is no such thing as chance. I think God has a funny way of making it seem as if the things that happen to us are by chance, but honestly, that’s a load of crap. If the biggest moments of our lives were left up to chance, then I believe that would make God out to seem as if he didn’t care. It would make it seem as if He was truly abandoning me and making me face some of my most important seasons fully isolated. But you, best friend, are a true testament to the fact that God doesn’t just leave such important aspects up to chance. Thank you for taking a chance on our friendship, and thank you for allowing me to take a chance on what I didn’t realize would be the most impactful friendship in my entire life.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for not sugar coating things. Thank you for telling me when I have a bad attitude. Thank you for loving me through my mistakes. Thank you for supporting me in my decisions, even if it isn’t always the decision you would make. Thank you for wanting the best for me, and for making that your true intent behind the words that you say to me, whether they be constructive criticism or encouragement.

Thank you for being a goof with me. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for seeing the importance of our friendship. Thank you for making time in your schedule for us to just sit and do homework, eat Mexican food, or sit on the porch and listen to music that emotionally wrecks you.

You’re one of a kind. You’re a shoulder to lean on. You’re a safe place. You’re a free spirit. You’re rough and tough, but your heart melts for the people you love and it’s obvious. You’re more than meets the eye. You are worth getting to know. You are worth loving. You pursue people. You are passionate about your future. You are everything that a person needs, and I really thank God that for some reason you continue to choose to be in my life. Thank you for literally dragging me up my mountains of fear when I want to stay exactly where I am at and wallow in the sadness. You bring joy—true joy—wherever you go. You are my best friend, confidant, and biggest fan. You will be the Maid of Honor, Godmother, and fun Aunt.

I used to think lifelong friendships weren’t really a thing. It just seemed like people always grew apart and forever was never a point that was attainable. Best friends forever is a cliché phrase that is continuously overused nowadays (sometimes, I even used to make light of it), but thanks for making that a reality. You are truly the best friend I could have asked for. So thank you for it all. You make life more fun, and I couldn’t thank God more for making an incredible human, friends with me.

I love you, pal!

JQ

Cover Image Credit: Julia Dee Qualls

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To my maai

For the person who knows life is hard.

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The fact is, life is hard. There will be bumps in the road, there will be challenges you face, the degree of those challenges will transform you into the person you become. And then there are the people. The people who are sent into your life who will help you along the way and evidentially have the greatest impact on who you become. Some are sent satin's, I was sent a savior.

She was no taller than 5' 4". Her hands always occupied books with a blanket or sweater tied to her waist. Her mind busted with knowledge every chance she got and never avoided the opportunity to learn. She was a quiet woman but spoke louder than anyone around her through her actions. A gentle soul, with the heart of a lion beating through her 100lbs body. She never broke a promise, never raised her voice, and never forgot to say good morning and goodnight. Her instincts transformed her into a mother everywhere she went, and she had this smile. The smile which she wore proudly with dignity, stretching from ear to ear, and it said absolutely everything you would need to know about her. Her name was Bapsy Anita… then Bapsy Daruvalla… but to me, she will always be my Maai.

She is my grandmother and the most influential person that has ever walked into my life. On June 28, 2018 we celebrated what would have been 88 years, and while she was not physically here, she has continued to leave her mark on all of our lives and is a daily reminder of who I attempt to be when I grow up.

Just as a little background, she was a leader in her community through multiple youth groups and child advocacy centers in Bombay, India. She was an only child, he mother passed when she was only 8 years old. She was an aspiring lawyer who hoped to impact her generation by taking on pro bono cases and not only helping lives but changing the world with her actions. She ended up leaving her university education to care for her sick father. She was a chairman for the lioness global community and was as humble as a human could be. A friend to all she encountered. A wife to the love of her life, Adil. A mother to her 3 beautiful children. A grandmother to 7 grandchildren.

I grew up as a realist and a dreamer, but those two concepts don't exactly morph together very well… She was my pillar to help me find balance and it wasn't through actions or habits. It was through words. Every night she would read me a book and I would fall into a new world. One where bears could talk, people could fly, and worries were a mere figment of our imaginations. I could be anything I wanted, and I learned to become a dreamer who aspired to forget the stars and reach new galaxies to see what I was capable of. After taking me on my journey through books she would tuck me in at night, hand me my magic blanky, and quietly hum the song "Can't Help Falling in Love" by the King, Elvis Presley. She would often say to me that I was fit to be a queen and deserved to fall asleep with a king by my side. She always said to end a bad day in a good way and wear a smile as my best accessory. To this day that is still my favorite song of all time, I still sleep with my magic blanky around my pillow, and I still dream about the happiness I couldn't wait to be flooded with when I grew up.

People make a difference.

I say all of this because the imprint that this single made on my life was filled with pure and honest love, and that is what she portrayed to everyone around her. Unconditional and incomparable love. Her attitude exhibited hope, her voice was like a finely tuned violin, her eyes never failed to spot out the perfection in every person, and her heart pumped with the ideology that she was on this planet for a reason and she was not willing to waste her life.

One day I woke up and realized how she was always so calm and collect around me. It was because I am a carbon copy of her youngest daughter, a woman I refer to as mom. We are both loud in our opinions and broad in our mindsets. We both take on the idea that we are in charge, and that's a dangerous game to play in my house. We love those around us and trust too easily, but none the less, we are best friends.

We are all on this earth for a reason. It isn't to make money or have fame and fortune embody our physical being. We are not here to turn people in need of help away or slander the names of people's religious faiths. We are united as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. We hold the keys to not only our happiness but to the happiness of those around us, through our attitudes. Stop saying can't and stop saying won't. Drop your stubborn temperament at the door and let it wash off on a rainy day. Express your opinion but be open to hearing others. Know that knowledge is power, and it is the only thing which sets you apart from those you surround yourself with. So, stick out like a sore thumb and be proud of who you are because you never know who is watching.

She is why I write. It is as if some power from above engulfs my thoughts and lets me find my release through the sounds of fingertips dancing along the keyboard. She was the drive behind my love of knowledge and the reason I push myself working like a slob to make sure I pursue my full potential, and alongside my passions comes the art of humanitarianism. I invest my talents to help those around me. Not in a bragging form, but in a way so that they know they are not alone, even on their hardest and darkest days.

She still guides me in my hard times and promotes me in my accomplishments, I am so eternally grateful to have had such an amazing influence in my life. Each person on this planet has their person. Their Mufasa and leader when they are lost. Even if you feel lost and alone and hopeless, there is always light at the end of the tunnel and there is always a reason to smile ear to ear, always say good morning and goodnight, and hum Elvis to yourself in an empty room. There is always a reason to have a positive attitude and share it with those around you.

"Be like a flower that gives fragrance. Even to the hand that crushed it." – Imam Ali

Cover Image Credit:

Farzeen Cama

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