Missing You, Bumpa
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Politics and Activism

Missing You, Bumpa

If only I had known that I would never see you again.

Missing You, Bumpa
Kourtney Young

There are certain things in life that you have to deal with like birth, love, loss and death. It is almost easier to lose someone that is still alive, because you stand the chance of reconciling with them. When someone passes away, all you’re left with are memories and broken wishes.

It has been almost a year since I got the call that you had passed away, but I lost you long before that. When I was back for Christmas you smiled at me, but it didn’t take long for me to realize you had no idea who I was. You acknowledged me, but your eyes were empty and I knew your mind didn’t comprehend who I was. When Nana asked if you recognized me, you replied confidently that I was Jennifer, but in that moment we had to explain I was not your daughter, but your granddaughter. It was painful to realize that all the years of memories we had made together were no longer something we shared, but memories that only I had. It didn’t take long for me to realize how hard it must be for Nana to see you each day, knowing that you wouldn’t always remember who she was. It was in that moment that you called me by my aunt’s name that my world stopped and I could feel my heart shatter.

I remember it like it was yesterday- my phone died at work and I didn’t charge it when I got home. I was a few hours in to my day by the time my phone was charged enough to show I had a voicemail, and I immediately knew what it would say. The voicemail was my mother asking me to call her back- I knew what news was coming next so with shaky hands, I returned her phone call. I could hear the pain in her voice and could sense the tears in her eyes as she told me you had passed away over-night. I felt like I had hit a brick wall going 40 miles per hour- my world stopped, my throat and chest tightened and I couldn’t even form a thought, let alone any words. Suddenly my mind filed with a million memories and thoughts.

I will never be able to pass by Fleet Farm without thinking of our countless trips there together. Every time I see an Oatmeal Raisin cookie, I think of you as you always seemed to have them in your truck. I can't see beaded lizards or beaded eggs without remembering the time you bought all 30 that we made, because nobody else wanted to buy them. When I think about vacation, I always think of the trips to Wisconsin Dells or camping out for days at the Minnesota State Fair with you, Nana and my sister. I know I inherited my sweet tooth from you, because I don't know anyone else who could eat donuts for breakfast and cookies for lunch (don't worry, I never did tell my mom about that) without a second thought or complaint.

I snapped back to reality long enough to choke back tears and tell my mom I was sorry she lost her dad, she wanted to get off the phone as quickly as I did. I sat in disbelief and silence for a moment before a million more thoughts started racing through my head. I had regrets of not coming back to say goodbye, but then I remembered the heart breaking moment from 5 months ago when you didn’t know who I was. It was in that moment that I realized all the things I should have done with you before it was too late.

If only I had known that I would never see you again. I would cherish every moment with you a little more. I would have let you "try" my ice-cream more often, knowing it would end with you eating half the cone without even tasting it. I would memorize every wrinkle on your face and every callus on your hands. If I had known I would never see you again, I would stand outside by the garage while you worked on one of your many projects. I wish we would have recorded all the times you would drag us on sleds behind the four-wheeler for hours at a time. I would sit on the ground next to your recliner and listen to your countless stories of your childhood. I would record your stories so I could listen to them on repeat and hear your deep-belly laughter. If I had known that I would never see you again, I would have taken more pictures together. I would ride in your truck to the junkyard to help you recycle the scrap metal and sing Johnny Cash or the "Skeeters and Bed Bugs" song the whole trip. I wish I could watch your favorite old westerns with you and eat the caramel corn and cheesy corn from the popcorn tin we got you every year for Christmas. Bumpa, I took for granted all the years I had with you, I thought you would always be around and I was too busy growing older to realize that you were growing older too. I wish I would have played outside a little less and sat with you a little more. If I could go back in time, I would go to Fleet Farm with you every time you asked me to go to the “Man’s Mall” instead of throwing a fit and staying at home watching television. If I had known that I would never see you again, I would go back in time and ask for you to teach me how to use my hands for any project I would need. I wish I would have gotten up earlier to go to breakfast at the Buckboard with you before school and help you in the garage after school. I would have dove in a few more dumpsters to get the books you knew Nana would want to read. I wish I would have spent my days off from school following you around and seeing your day to day activities and routines and ended our day with some tacos from Cancun for dinner. If I had known I would never see you again, I would memorize every piece of advice you gave me instead of rolling my eyes when you told me things about life. I foolishly thought you would always be there, but when I turned around you were gone. I'm thankful for the memories and lessons you did teach me. I know you're up there scrapping metal and looking down on me, smiling like you have always done. Miss you, Bumpa.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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