A Goodbye To My Grandpa

A Goodbye, To My Beloved Grandpa

To the grandfather who gave me the most precious thing I have.

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Competitive. That is the first quality that comes to my head when I think of my Grandpa Korleski. It is a quality that I have definitely inherited, for better or worse. It was one of his greatest strengths and weaknesses, just as it is my greatest strength and weakness.

Anyone who has ever played Mexican Train or Peanut with him can attest to this. Those two games were played very often in the Korleski household and things could get quite intense, to say the least.

And Grandpa had his OWN set of rules that everyone had to abide by. "I can't cover this double, BUT I can play over here." We now refer to that as "Grandpa's Rule."

His competitive nature, especially when combined with my own, started quite a few arguments where everyone had to pick a room to calm down for a bit. Without a doubt, my grandpa was determined to win at EVERYTHING, big or small.

That same drive has also gotten him out of many rough spots in life. I don't have very many personal stories to share, unfortunately. Though I'm sure if you ask any of his children they would all be able to share at least one story where his determination to win helped him overcome challenges in his life.

While I may not have many stories specific, I know at least one other person who inherited his competitive nature besides me: my mom, Annalisa Renovitch. She grew up competing in horse shows. She bred and trained Grand Champion POAs. She inherited SO much drive and ambition from my grandpa and my grandma.

There is one gift that my grandfather gave me that easily outweighs any other I have ever received: My name. One of the last things he said to me before dementia erased his memory of me entirely was, "Did you know that I named you?" And he could not have given me a more fitting name: Victoria. Before he ever saw me he knew I would be victorious in my life. And because I inherited his competitive nature, I have been.

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When You Give A Girl A Papa

She'll learn enough lessons to last a lifetime.
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When you give a girl a Papa she'll have the best adventures.

She'll run around atop his shoulders and learn to fly. Her imagination will never run dry and she'll always be down for a laugh. He'll tell her stories and wipe away her tears. When you give a girl a Papa she'll have memories to last her years.

Papa is German for Dad but in America, it has become a slang term for grandpa. And while it is just a word, for some, it has a deeper meaning. Papa isn't just a grandfather, he's a best friend, the instigator of mischief, a protector, a storyteller, a rock, the strongest man you know and, most importantly, a hero.

Papa can turn ordinary, everyday activities into an adventure. From a young age, I was running behind him as quickly as my little legs could carry me ready for that day's adventure. I was always down for anything Papa was doing, following him in his daily chores and mimicking his every move. Cuddling up and watching sports in his lazy chair was my favorite time of the day because he always told the best stories. Sitting there hanging onto every word he said because it was the most important thing I ever heard.

Papa is full of experience and wisdom. His wise words provide comfort every time I am sad. He can always make me laugh to fight the tears away. I'm not sure how, but he always knows what to say to make me feel better. Papa is a fearless force that never bows and is never broken. He can weather all of the storms while smiling and laughing. I can only hope to have that resilience when facing life's problems. And when Papa was struggling with his own battles, I will stand right next to him, ready to fight and do all I can for him.

Papa can do a happy dance via the phone so he is the person to call when something good happens. He is always there to celebrate life and all its joy. And, even though he tried to hide them, he cried happy tears the day of my high school graduation. I pretended not to notice.

Leaving Nana and Papa's house is always the worst part of the trip. Driving away waving my hand in the air with tears welling in my eyes because I can't wait for the next adventure. Disappointing Papa was the scariest thing you I could think of, but I knew that he would never stay that way for long. There was always a lesson to learn from mistakes.

He is the man I model all men after. If they don't treat me the way Papa demonstrated, they are not worthy of my time. If they don't make me laugh or have that twinkle of passion in their eyes and fire in their soul like my Papa, then they aren't the man for me.

Papa is my hero. I would give anything to be like him, to stand strong and hold the world together when it just wants to fall apart. To be able to make anyone laugh and feel right at home. To fight for what I believe in and work hard to achieve my goals. To have charisma and charm. To deal with people who wrong me with class and kindness. To follow my faith with questions because that is the only way to make your beliefs stronger. To be the person everyone speaks of with a fond memory in their eye.

At the end of it all, he is my Papa and no one can take his place. I can and will drop anything to be by his side. He has shaped me into the person that I am working to be. I will always call him for advice and kind words.

Best friends come in many forms, but my favorite will always be my Papa.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Goddard

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Poetry On Odyssey: A Poem For Grandma

To my wonderful best friend to kick off our summer together!

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NANA


Mother.

Wife.

Sister.

Friend.

Daughter.

Grandmother.

All the glorious roles you have held in life.

Always wearing a smile with lipstick covered lips.

With your blonde short hair.

And glasses covered eyes of blue.

All the wonderful characteristics that make up you.


Happy.

Chill.

Friendly.

Kind.

Just casually cruising through this thing called life, with the best sidekick by your side.

The best of friends is what we are.

I love you so much even though you love me more!

Simply because you're the big to my little.


We have inside jokes,

Sayings,

Stories,

And more.

Adventures after adventures.

That is how we roll.


I love you tremendously Nana and I am blessed that God decided to make us family!

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