A Letter To My Lolo, The Day After You Left I Had To Continue Living

A Letter To My Lolo, The Day After You Left I Had To Continue Living

I wish you could see me now Lolo.

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The hardest part about writing this is knowing you won't be able to read this, but it needs to be said.

Lolo, you left and the world didn't stop moving. No one noticed how quiet I became and no one stopped when I decided to go home early that day. The Earth continued to spin and I didn't even shed a tear until a week after.

You left and I didn't know how much I would miss you until I started inviting people to my graduation and realized you would make it. I didn't know how sad I was until someone's grandma had made them dinner and I thought about how your last meal was confided in hospital walls, surrounded by my family in the Philippines. I didn't know how lucky I was until my mom told me you were always calling me doctor even before I applied to medical school.

Lolo, you left before you saw how much I had grown. You left before you saw Miguel getting accepted into Elon's DPT. You left before my mom could say goodbye for the last time, so she tries to tell you every night before she sleeps how much she misses you.

A week after you left, I sat in my living room surrounded by my best friend and boyfriend. I couldn't stop crying for the entire runtime of "Meet the Robinsons". In all honesty, not even Disney could save my broken heart. It was the movie I desperately needed to watch because its motto was what I needed to hear: Keep moving forward.

I couldn't wallow in your absence. You'd hate that I did anyway. Instead, I started moving with the world.

First, I stopped crying. Crying wasn't what we needed to celebrate the life you taught us to live. Instead, I applied myself. I told myself if I wasn't doing what I loved or was working towards my goals every day, I was wasting the future you'd been telling people about since I was little.

I decided this because it keeps you alive in our hearts. You would be felt and seen through our successes and accomplishments. Sure, you wouldn't be at my graduation this December, but your impact would be felt as I walk across that stage to receive my diploma. You wouldn't see me get married and have kids, but we would be telling stories of your legacy until I was as old as you were Lolo.

Goodbye is my least favorite word. It could be for a moment or for forever, but we never really know until we have to say it. I've already had to say goodbye to a Lolo once before and I'm not ready to say it now. This time, I would save my goodbye. I wasn't going to part with your memory yet, but pass it on. You taught me to enjoy life, so I fully intend to Lolo.

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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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Knowing That Someone You Love Is Going To Pass Doesn't Make It Any Easier

Death is never easy to deal with, not even when you know it's coming.

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I met Grandmom Doris when I was around 7, so I've known her for the better part of my life. She is my dad's wife's grandmother, but that doesn't mean I loved her any less. I have so many fond memories of making soup with her on rainy days, making mini pigs in blankets in her kitchen before parties with our cousins, walking to the McDonald's that was around the corner from her house, hearing the ice cream man and knowing Grandmom had a drawer with "Mister Toftee" money in it, because she knew how much we loved vanilla ice cream with rainbow jimmies.

She told us stories of when growing up, and we listened to her in awe. She had such a strong voice and the best laugh, and she touched the hearts of so, so many.

I remember playing hide and seek in her huge house and playing dress-up with her old clothes. We did Thomas Kinkade puzzles together, and of course, we sang and danced together too. We always had family Christmas parties at her house, and we loved doing word searches together. When she got her automatic stair climber, my sister and I loved to ride it up and down and up and down.

From the moment she met my sister and me, we were her girls. Our dad would say he'd bring his girls over to see her and she'd immediately correct him and remind him that we were hers.

Last Wednesday morning, we lost Grandmom Doris. We knew it was going to happen, and we've known for years now that it was coming. But, that didn't make it any easier to hear by any stretch of the imagination. We went to visit her the Saturday before, knowing it may very well have been the last time we'd ever see her.

I knew her time was coming to an end, but I didn't know she had only four days left.

I didn't want to go see her at first. I wasn't sure what kind of mental or physical state she was in, and I didn't want my final memories of her to be negative ones of her lying helpless in her bed.

I decided to go, and I will forever be so glad that I did. She was alert, and even sort of remembered my sister and me. Immediately upon seeing her, I realized how much I had missed her over the last few years.

She had pretty severe dementia, and she struggled to remember a lot, especially towards the end. She wanted my sister and me to sing for her, and of course, we did. We sang her John Denver, and we sang her L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole. It was on her CD as "Mama's Song," which is what all the adults in the family called her. She even sang some of it with us.

When we said goodbye to her for the last time, she took our hands and she told us "I'll never forget my girls," and she wouldn't let go.

We'll never forget you either Grandmom.

She lived a good life, surrounded by a family and friends who loved her unconditionally. She was 89, and all 89 of her years were spent loving those family and friends right back. I'd give anything just to hear another one of her stories.

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of knowing and loving such a wonderful lady for most of my life. Rest easy Grandmom Doris, you were and still are loved and cherished more than you could ever know. We love you.

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