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.

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 My Nana

Everyone deserves a Nana like you

Everyone deserves a Nana like you.

You are the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I have ever met and I am so glad God blessed me with being your granddaughter. From the moment I was born you were there, you lived almost 500 miles away but yet you were there every step of the way.

From first steps to first words, first days of school, you were there. Every first that you and Papa could be there for, you were. I didn't know it then but you were destined to be my best friend from the start. All the years you and Pops spent traveling back and forth from NC to PA, just to watch me and my brother grow up. You wanted to be there every step of the way and I couldn't have been more grateful. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.

Now that I am older and can actually realize the depth your love goes for me and my brother just makes me more thankful. I would do anything for you and I know you would do the same. I would spend every minute of my day hanging out with you if I could and if you didn't live so far away.

Being able to come hang out with you and spend these last two weeks was the biggest blessing. Learning your "not so secret" family recipes, being able to watch our shows together, baking cookies, shopping, playing slots, and so much more. You have told me this whole trip that I'm not allowed to go back home because you like the company and how much I have helped you and truth be told, I wouldn't leave you if I didn't have to.

One of my favorite memories, that maybe some wouldn't even call a memory, was when I got the tattoo of your handwriting, "Love You Bushels." It is by far my favorite tattoo I have and I know how much you hate them but you always joke with me anyways. I still remember to this day, when I posted a picture of it and told you to go look, you called me spitting Italian like you do when I stress you out, lol.

"Oh my Kayce, why would you do this?" you said.

"Well, I wanted to Nun and now you will always be with me," I replied.

"Well it is beautiful I guess," you responded (still with an attitude).

"So you like it?" I said.

"Well, hun, you know I love your mother and brother just as much as you, but maybe if I love them a little less they won't go putting it all over their bodies," you responded.

I laughed, you laughed because no one quite gets your sense of humor like I do, and no one quite gets mine like you.

I love this time I get to spend with you. The memories we make, the laughs we share, I wouldn't trade this time for the world. I know you will always be with me, even when you are 500 miles away.

Cover Image Credit: Kayce Davis

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Great-Grandma Bartron-isms For The New Year

Phrases and quotes from a wise woman to get you through 2018.

I was on the phone with my grandmother the other day while I wrote last week’s article. We chatted for a while about the New Year. It was during that chat that she decided I should spread the wisdom of my late Great-Grandma Bartron, so my readers could start off the new year with some inspiration.

I was never old enough for this wisdom to be imparted to me directly -- I was eight years old when she passed. These “Grandma Bartron-isms” are still used by my family to this day. This is advice from a woman who grew up during the Great Depression and lived in a world decidedly different than the one we live in now. Yet her advice still remains relevant, which is a testament to her wisdom.

Here are six of her more famous “Grandma Bartron-isms.”

"Smile, agree and do as you please."

This marital advice was given to the women of my family, whether it was prenuptial or thirty years into a marriage. This advice is very contradictory to the marital standards that she grew up with. She encouraged the women of my family to have a say in their marriage, in the way she was unable to. “My grandpa probably thought he was the boss in the relationship,” my mother remarked, laughing. She might not have been outspoken in her marriage, but she still had power.

"If you stay in bed, drink liquids, and watch TV your cold will last a week; if you get up and go to school it will last seven days -- so get going!"

"A walk is as good as a nap."

In the eyes of my great-grandmother, exercise and physical activity was the key to preventing and curing many ailments. She was a very active woman, who went on walks or swam every day and these quotes were her kind way of telling us to get off our butts and stay active.

"When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks about you. When you’re 40, you don’t care what anyone thinks about you. And when you’re 60, you realize that no one was thinking about you! They were all thinking about themselves!”

Grandma Bartron was known for her brutal honesty, which is represented in the above saying. This is something I think all college kids should keep in mind. It's easy to be self-conscious of yourself when you are doing a lot on your own for the first time.

Yet according to Grandma Bartron, everyone is too worried about themselves to worry about you. I will remember that this semester when I take my oral communications class, or the next time I sleep through my alarm and have to go to class in my pajamas.

"One [child] takes all your time and all your money, and that’s all two or three or four can do!"

This phrase was actually a bit of advice she received from a friend of her husband's, and it resonated with her so much that she adopted the phrase as her own. This is what Grandma Bartron would say when someone claimed she didn’t have enough money to have another child. Grandma Bartron had four children, and she believed that no matter what you were going to be broke and tired -- no matter if you had one child or four.

She herself loved babies and encouraged everyone to have them so she could spend time with them. She worked as a volunteer nurse in the baby nursery when she was 76 so that she could be the person to take the first pictures of my cousins when they were born.

"This too shall pass."

This phrase is not specific to my great-grandmother, but she verbalized it enough to become considered part of her vocabulary. It makes sense that a woman who grew up during the Great Depression would have this mindset. This phrase was used long before her time and will continue to be said for generations to come.

As I try to navigate college, this phrase will stick in the back of my mind. I’m sure she would have said it to me, had she lived to see me off to college.

Cover Image Credit: Ali Schulz

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