It has always been a dream of mine to travel to Greece. To meet my Papou's sisters and their families; to see the Acropolis; to walk along the crystal clear water; to pick an olive off of a Kalamata olive tree; to gaze at the beauty of the mountains of Kastoria; but most importantly, I want to do all of these and more with my Yiayia and Papou.
I've always wanted to see where both my grandparents grew up, and have them show me themselves. Recently, I took a trip to Greece with my mom, aunt, and two cousins for a wedding. We visited my Papou's village, Kastoria, took a tour of the Acropolis in Athens, relaxed on the beach in Thessaloniki, attended a wedding on the island of Chios, and so much more in a span of two weeks.
It has been years since my Papou has passed away, but my life would be different if he were here. He would have been so excited to show us his village and introduce us to his sisters and their families. He would show us where he played soccer, bring us to his favorite spot on the lake, and be so happy to show the village he grew up in to his two daughters and three granddaughters.
If my Papou were here, I would have one more person to embarrass me with childhood stories. I would have a million selfies with him because he loved the camera. My life would be filled with more laughter, more excitement, and more hugs. I could spend the day laying on the couch with him, my head on his stomach, watching Jerry Springer or old Three Stooges movies.
If my Papou were here, I would receive calls from him every day. Accidental calls, calls asking me to drive him places, and some just to chat. I would be able to pick up my phone and call him whenever I want, or go to his house and visit him. I could call him after a long day of classes, or a busy day of work, and tell him about all of my achievements and successes. I could ask him how his day was and ask him to tell me stories from his childhood; I wouldn't have to talk to him through my prayers and dreams, but in person.
If my Papou were here, I would have another person to critique my driving. I would drive him to the deli or wherever else he would want to go, while he pushes every button, asking what each of them do. I would have another person I could tell all my good news to, like when I get a good grade in a hard class or receive a scholarship or award.
If my Papou were here, my Yiayia would have gone to Greece with us. She would have insisted we visit Kalamata, the city she grew up in, and show us everything it has to offer. She would have introduced us to my Papou's sisters and their families herself. She would have come with us to see the house my Papou grew up in, the school he went to as a child, and the church where they got married.
I wish my Papou were here for moments like my trip to Greece, major achievements in my life, and those times I really need a helping hand. I find comfort in knowing he is watching over me; he is no longer in pain, no longer suffering, and can finally be at peace. I had the time of my life in Greece, I just wish I could have shared those moments with my Papou, and I know that my life would be different if he were here.