A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

The thoughts of a girl who lost both of her grandpas too early.
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Dear Grandpa,

As I get older, my memories are starting to fade. I try to cling to every last bit of memory that I have of you. There are certain memories that have stuck well in my brain, and I probably will never forget them, at least I hope I don't. I remember your smile and your laugh. I can still remember how your voice sounded. I never want to forget that. I catch myself closing my eyes to try to remember it, playing your voice over and over in my head so that I can ingrain it in my memory.

I always thought you were invincible, incapable of leaving me. You were so young, and it caught us all by surprise. You were supposed to grow old, die of old age. You were not supposed to be taken away so soon. You were supposed to see me graduate high school and college, get married to the love my life, be there when my kids are born, and never ever leave.

My heart was broken when I heard the news. I don't think I had experienced a pain to that level in my entire life. At first, I was in denial, numb to the thought that you were gone. It wasn't until Thanksgiving, then Christmas, that I realized you weren't coming back. Holidays are not the same anymore. In fact, I almost dread them. They don't have that happy cheer in the air like they did when you were alive. There is a sadness that hangs in the air because we are all thinking silently how we wished you were there. I hope when I am older and have kids that some of that holiday spirit comes back.

You know what broke my heart the most though? It was seeing your child, my parent, cry uncontrollably. I watched them lose their dad, and I saw the pain that it caused. It scared me, Grandpa, because I don't ever want to lose them like how they lost you. I can't imagine a day without my mom or dad. I still see the pain that it causes and how it doesn't go away. There are good days and there are bad days. I always get upset when I see how close people are to their grandparents and that they get to see them all the time. I hope they realize how lucky they are and that they never take it for granted. I wish I could have seen you more so that I could have more memories to remember you by.

I know though that you are watching over me. That is where I find comfort in the loss. I know that one day I will get to see you again, and I can't wait for it. I hope I have made you proud. I hope that all that I have accomplished and will accomplish makes you smile from ear to ear. I hope that the person I marry is someone you would approve of. And I hope that my kids get more time with their grandpa than I did because the amount I got wasn't fair.

I want to say thank you for raising your child to be the best parent ever because they will one day be the best grandparent ever. Just like you.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn McKinney

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the beautiful barefoot boy

The goal isn't to live forever, but to create something that will.

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This morning, I did the same thing I do every single morning when I wake up. Before my feet hit the floor, I say a prayer. I thank God for waking me up, blessing me with such a good life, and pray for any specific thing that is laying on my heart. Lately, I have been praying a lot for the same person many people in my community have been praying for- Matt McGregor. I have prayed for healing, comfort, strength, and many other things to happen in Matt's journey, but I also prayed that God's will be done in his life above all else. Little did I know yet that His will had been done.

I remember Matt from school. Every time I saw him, everyone around him was laughing. And I am not exaggerating. He was one of those special people who can literally make anyone and everyone laugh no matter the situation. He was one of those people that the world needs around to make life more bearable and just down right better.

Death sucks. Cancer sucks. Yes, I am glad that Matt is no longer suffering, but that does not really give me a sense of relief because I know his family and friends are suffering. I think about Matt's sisters, and cannot fathom the pain that they're feeling. I could not imagine life without my brothers, my kids not getting to grow up and hang out with their cool uncles, and telling on each other to our parents when we all come home for Christmas when we're 40. I think about his parents, who are having to do the hardest thing anyone could have to do, say goodbye to their son. I think about his friends, who's lives will never be the same every time they do something that reminds them that he's no longer here to share life with. He was too young, too full of life. The worst death are the ones that can't be explained, and this one of them.

That's the thing about life, you never know when it's going to end and that is what makes it so fragile. Someone you know passes away, and you suddenly start to contemplate whether you are living your life "good" enough. You wish you'd spent more time with the one who passed, hold on a little tighter to the ones who are still here, and make sure you remind them you love them. But to show someone you love them is much more powerful than telling them, and that is exactly how Matt lived his life. His life light was beaming all the time and he was constantly sharing that with everyone around him. That is part of why he was so special.

When someone dies, they leave their own legacy that is different from every single other person on the planet. Your legacy depends on the amount of light that you have shed on others. Looking through Facebook today, it is so obvious that his light touched so many people. Matt's death has reminded me of those that I have and will continue to lose throughout life... there is no better way to say it than death sucks. But even though death sucks, it reminds us to live our life to the fullest, and continue the legacy of those we've lost.

On a side note, I found it interesting that Matt was barefoot all the time, so I googled being barefoot in biblical times. Moses and Joshua was commanded to take off his shoes as he was standing on holy ground, and poor people did not have shoes so they went barefoot. But this is my favorite: priests in Israel went barefoot while ministering. They would take their shoes off before blessing their people. It is evident that Matt blessed so many people's lives in his short time on this Earth. Coincidence that he was known for always being barefoot? I think not.

Let your life light shine brightly like Matt's, and always live life to the fullest.

. . .

In loving memory of Matt McGregor Jr.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." Revelation 14:13

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Love Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Each other, friends, family, YOURSELF

JordynL
JordynL
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During the holiday season, it can be rough. There's all kinds of stresses that take place, and some of which we can't control- and that's okay. With Christmas being around the corner, we always worry about what to get for certain people that are of monetary value, but we overlook the most important gift of all; love.

1. Each Other 

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In the world that we live in, there are struggles and always will be. Nothing will ever be completely equal and peaceful, though we try so hard and will continue to do so. But around the holidays, our country always manages to pull together as one, United, as we should be. We celebrate, raise money, donate gifts, clothes, etc., all to help out our fellow man. I personally think it's amazing that we can put aside our differences and "love thy neighbor" during these times because it just makes things more peaceful and worthwhile. It's important to be compassionate, understanding, and considerate. We can manage to do this around the holidays, so we need to remember and try to do this all year 'round. Lord knows that'll take some time, but we'll get there eventually. Just love each other.

2. Friends

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Love your friends. Always. If you're anything like me, you go through moments where some things are just too much. As a result, you don't want to worry or stress out your family, so you turn to friends- your second family. There have been (many) times where I wouldn't let my family be there for me, so I would turn to my friends for love and support. My family knows this and are understanding. My mom was actually the one that brought this up to me a few weeks ago and she expressed that she was happy that I had people to turn to like that; that I have friendships so strong that it's an option. Although she was happy about it, I know she is saddened at the fact that I feel that way sometimes.

Point is, appreciate your friends. Love your friends. Tell them these things. Part of who you've become is because of your friends; past, present, and future. They're always there when you need them, through the good and bad. Along with your family, they tolerate your bullshit more than anyone else, so make them feel loved and worthy- that you're proud to be sharing a journey with them.

To my close friends, some I see everyday and some that have drifted, I love you. I consider y'all my family. You know I don't have any siblings, so you are the closest thing I have and I appreciate you guys more than you know. Some of us have had some pretty heated fights, but we always managed to come back stronger. So Shelby, T, Cam, Faith, and Dalton: I love y'all so much. Thank you for everything.

3. Family

My uncle doesn't like taking pictures. Especially with how long it takes me to take them :(((

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Your family has put up with your shenanigans from day one. Or even before day one when you were kicking and doing all kinds of crazy stuff in the womb. And when you were born? Good lord. Your parents, your family, has dealt with everything that you've done your entire life. They laughed with you, disciplined you, and supported you through everything that you've done (whether it's behind the scenes or right up in everything). From close quarters or from a distance, your family has seen you grow and, more than likely, they are proud of you. They, especially your parent(s), deserve all the love you can give them because, after all, they gave you all of theirs and then some. They didn't do everything for nothing. They want you to succeed, even if they show it in odd ways.

As for my family, they've all had my back in different ways and I couldn't be more grateful (even when it seems like I'm not).

*My mom, my biggest fan and loudest cheerleader, has been there for everything that I've done: band concerts, marching band/winterguard performances, award ceremonies, banquets (even helping the Band Boosters when she could --and when she could tolerate them--), graduation, college tours, and every single move-in day. She's been my kick-in-the-ass all throughout school, ensuring that I do well. She's been my worst enemy, but most importantly, my shoulder to cry on when I'm upset or just so frustrated. She's been my *metaphorical* shrink, voice of reason, comedic relief, hero, and my best friend.

*My dad, my behind-the-scenes and occasional-audience supporter, fellow movie enthusiast, and opportunity provider. He's normally working so he can provide for my mom and I in every way possible, but always tries his best to be there for the super important moments: state championships, banquets, birthdays, graduation, college tours, even participated in move-in day this year! He's always up for a movie, and as far as I'm concerned, is MVP with this one because he got us tickets to EVERY midnight release of every. single. Twilight movie (when I was into it). Not a lot of dads would do that, especially for a midnight showing, but he did and I won't forget that- because we froze our asses off. He provided the opportunity for my trip to Europe, along with spending money (and added more when I ran out -different currencies suck-). He provides my college education so I can follow my dream (along with mom still giving me a kick in the ass so I get good grades). But more importantly, he's my hero (literally- because Veteran).

*My memee (reminder of the whole Midwest/southern term for grandma), my other best friend, my other biggest fan, gossip buddy, home away from home, voice of reason, and inspiration to go to OSU. You know how they say "like mother, like daughter"? (there's the dad thing too, but yeah) That may be true, but I've got a huge chunk of my memee in me and I always have. We were already kindred spirits and it's becoming more obvious the older I get. We never have to go out to have fun. We can just sit in the apartment, watch Law And Order: SVU, and gossip about whatever for HOURS. She's my partner in crime, and my designated "we'll do something even if it's wrong" person.

*My uncle, my designated college football shit-talker (I can't help that he picked the wrong team to support), protector against guys, STFU enthusiast, and another voice of reason. From a distance, and sometimes not from a distance, he's one of my biggest defenders in all aspects, especially when my mom and I are going at it. And at the end of the day, he supports everything I do (even if most of it is at the "wrong" school). By the way, Go Pokes Bub :)

I owe these people specifically the BIGGEST thank you and love. I wouldn't be who I am without these four. They've each pushed me to success and supported everything I've done, being the rowdiest bunch of people in a crowd. I don't normally say gushy things about or to my family, but here it is. I love y'all so much and I couldn't have done any of this without you.

4. Last but certainly not least, YOURSELF

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If you don't have love for yourself, it's nearly impossible to love anyone else (normally for relationships, but same concept). There's so much negativity in the world that makes us feel bad about ourselves, and it doesn't help that a large chunk of it is personal. Everyone can say whatever they want to you, but it will only bother you if you allow it. Don't let other people knock you off your pedestal, strip you of your crown, or take your thrown. You're a queen (or king) and you need to realize that. Love yourself. ALL OF YOURSELF. You're you for a reason. If you're going through tough times, remind yourself that you're better than that. You're better than what they say. You're better than what you allow yourself to believe. You're you. Embrace it. Embrace the sass, stretch marks, cellulite, whatever. Nothing can bring you down if you don't allow it. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

JordynL
JordynL

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