What It Is Like When You Lose Your First Grandparent

What It Is Like When You Lose Your First Grandparent

For you, Grandpa

My grandpa died this week. I have never lost anyone close to me before him, so I really did not know what to expect. When I heard the news, I didn’t believe it, even though we had been anticipating it for a while. My mom woke me up early one morning to tell me. At first, I just stared at her, wishing she could take it back, and for it to all be a dream. But then she started crying. I did too. And then I couldn’t stop for a while.

For the past couple of years, my grandpa had some health problems. He wasn’t really himself, and his memory started to slowly fade away. The last few months of his life were not happy, for my family or for him. I still cannot believe that he is gone, but while trying to let it sink it, I like to think back to the better days we spent together.

I remember going to his house every Sunday after church when my siblings and I were little. My family and all of our cousins would show up every week without fail. My grandpa would cook a huge meal for all of us, and would force more food at us, even after we swore we couldn’t eat another bite. He lived next to a McDonald’s, so after the meal we would then walk through the drive thru later and get French fries. My grandpa barely ate, but always made sure everyone else was full. He was the most gracious, giving man I have ever met.

We also took a trip to the pumpkin patch every fall. My grandpa always loved feeding the animals in the petting zoo. My favorite memory from this was when he tried to feed a goat, but it ended up licking him on the mouth. We laughed about that every year since then. Did I mention that my grandpa was also the funniest man I have ever met? Because he was. He made strangers laugh, and I don’t think I know a single person that didn’t love him.

Whenever we would go out, he always made sure I had a jacket -- even if it was summer. And if I didn’t, he’d give me his, even if I wasn’t cold.

This week, preparing for my grandpa’s funeral has been crazy and so surreal. My mom bought poster boards to put pictures on for the service. All I could think was, “How can you possibly limit such a beautiful spirit and 76 years of life to six poster boards?”

It’s crazy to me how when someone dies, the world keeps going. You want to lay down and cry for a little while, but everyone around you seems perfectly fine. I guess that’s a sign that this world is not our home forever. We live here for a bit and then are sent to our permanent home upstairs -- at least this is what I believe. Even though my grandpa wasn’t a very religious man, I know where he is. It makes me smile to think that he is watching over me.

I wish everyone got the opportunity to know my grandpa. We all loved him, mostly because he would pass out 50 dollar bills at every birthday party, say some obscene joke and make everyone laugh for hours, or bring boxes of pizza to family gatherings even though my mom already made dinner.

This article doesn’t even touch on half of the impact my grandpa had on this world. He was a wonderful, kind, compassionate man, and I am blessed to have been a part of his life. I hope that he is proud of me and that I will continue to make him proud in my days to come.

I love you Grandpa Kitty, and I will miss you very much.

Cover Image Credit: Stacy Remark

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Old Oak Tree

A short poem about returning to one's childhood home.


Looming over the burned-out house is an oak tree,

Hundreds of years old at least.

The smell of smoke is gone, but skeleton of the house remains,

A mere speck when compared to the tree.

Whose branches reach out to me like hands,

Begging for me to come closer.

I do.

I sit under the tree like I did when I was young.

The ground is damp from the rain,

I feel the sogginess soaking through my jeans.

I remain.

It is cooler under the branches,

A limitless amount of leaves shades me from the daylight.

I stay there. All day.

Staring at the charred remains of my childhood home.

I stay there until fog begins to form in the crisp night air,

Cold and sharp against my cheeks.

No longer able to withstand the cold, I take my leave looking back once more.

It's nice to know that even when I'm gone,

The old oak tree remains.

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