It’s been almost two whole years since we lost you. This will be the second Christmas without you. It has been hard, definitely different, but I know that you are in a better place.
Every time I go to your house it is a weird experience. I always think that you are just in your room taking a nap, or out on a walk and we wait for you to come home. That is never the case.
You were my motivation to play the game that I love. It all started one day in your yard when you grabbed a bouncy ball and I thought it would be fun to hit it with that short brown and blue broom. We would play for hours – you tossing to me and me hitting it right back at you. As I got older I began to hit the ball over the shed and even after that, I would hit the ball into your neighbors yard. That’s when you started to tell me that maybe we should stop playing after a few balls into the other yard.
That year is when I began to play softball. We’d leave my brother at your house during my games and when we would come back to get him you would always ask how my games went. You’d ask if I pitched, if I got any hits, and so on. I was always disappointed to tell you if I didn’t do great that week, but you’d always wave your hand smiling and say “next time.”
You came to a few of my games which made me feel awesome inside because it was a rare occasion. In high school I could not wait until my Senior Night for you to come and see me and be proud that I stuck with it for ten years. You never made it.
My junior year of high school is when you got sick. You spent about two months in the hospital and your condition was very serious. I remember the night you were rushed to Boston and when the doctor said you may not make it through surgery my heart dropped. Miraculously you got better and lived for almost a year after.
The first day of my senior year of high school you were back in the hospital. The doctor told us that night that we should begin to get your affairs in order and expect that you mist likely would not make it through the night. I cried that whole night and worried that whole next day in school. You made it through that night and the next two weeks. Those two weeks you were in and out of health. It was very tough to see you so sick, so weak but we all smiled and cheered you on. You were there for Christmas, but you were not quite yourself.
January 2015 you were back in the hospital for the last time. Eventually there was nothing else the doctors could do. You were old and your body and heart were weak. They sent you home on Hospice and you lasted another eight days.
The morning of January 31, 2015 you were gone.
I woke up that morning to my mother telling me you weren’t breathing so her and my dad were going to go check on you and they would be back soon. She told me not to worry, that you were probably okay. It was hours before I heard anything. She texted me that the men from the funeral home just left with you and I just went into shock. It took an hour for it to all soak in. You were no longer going to be at your house, you were no longer going to be there to eat kielbasa with, you were finally gone. I dreaded having to tell my brother.
The funeral was awful, not in the sense that it wasn’t respectful and people in attendance, but it was awful to see my grandmother – My Babcia – say goodbye to you and just lose herself in tears. I will never forget her voice cracking when she said “goodbye, Dziadzia (pronounced Ja-Ja).” It absolutely broke my heart. Then I had to watch my little brother, my father, and my cousins carry you out.
I was jealous that my cousins before me had you at their high school graduations. I was the first one to not have you there. I was heartbroken you would not be at my senior night, a night (in my mind) that was dedicated to you - a thank you.
A few days into June I was in a car accident. I was very lucky to walk away with just whiplash. The car had been totaled and was just shy of being t-boned. I remember seeing the car come into my lane and my arms freezing. Next, I felt a hand on my shoulder and someone turn the wheel to the right…I was alone in the car. Turning the car that slight amount saved me from being seriously hurt. I know you were there next to me and you were the one to turn the wheel. I still feel you around me and my locket with your picture in it is like my “safety blanket.” I wear it almost every day.
So this will be the second Christmas without you here. I felt you there last year but seeing the empty seat still upset us all. I will never be able to tell you that I made the college softball team my freshman year, that I had the chance to finally go to Florida. I will never be able to tell you any of my achievements. You were a big part of my life. I was at your house all the time when I was little. We went on walks, we ate kielbasa (in secret), we played baseball in the yard, and we watched sports late at night when I slept over. Nothing will ever be able to take your place in my life or heal the hole in my heart, but I do my best. I try to remember you are better off where you are but it is still sad. I visit your grave whenever I come home so that you don’t feel like I am forgetting you. I just hope that I am making you proud and that you are looking down on me smiling. That hope is what gets me through the hard times.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and I hope to see you again soon. I miss you so much.
“Daj mi buzi.”