To My Grandfather, Thank You

To My Grandfather, Thank You

I am continuously grateful for your ongoing presence in my life.

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Thanksgiving has come and passed, but the third Thursday of each November should not be the only day we show our appreciation and our gratitude to the ones we love the most. As the remainder of the holiday season continues to warm each of our hearts, it is important to look beyond the parties and the presents that come our way. In the midst of enjoying these special times, we must not place the material objects at the forefronts of our minds. Instead, we must share in these moments with the special people in our lives, and celebrate them in the process.

For me, this special person has always been my Papa Carl, and will continue to be for the rest of my life. Since I was a child, my friendship with my grandfather is one that has remained consistent in my greatest of moments and my toughest of times. In a similar sense, not only has it remained consistent, but it has grown into a beautiful lifetime of memories that I hold ever so close to my heart. From celebrating the holidays together, to planning family dinners or simply sitting down at his favorite restaurant for a strong cup of coffee and a great conversation, he and I have developed a lasting bond that I know can never be broken.

My Papa is one of the strongest, most hard-working people I have encountered in my life. He displays an attitude of integrity and independence that I admire endlessly. From his exemplary career as a carpenter to his loving role as a husband, father and grandfather, his strength continuously inspires me to be the best person that I can. As his only grandchild, I strive to make him proud in all that I do and all that I become.

Papa, I love you dearly, and I am so proud to call you my grandfather. I am grateful for your presence not only in this time of thanksgiving and celebration, but within every day of my life.

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15 Reasons Your Grandpa Might Be The Greatest Person In Your Life

He loves you so much.
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Grandpa. The goofy old guy who has been with you since you were born. Maybe he lives close or maybe he lives far. Maybe he's quiet and reserved or maybe he's a complete goofball. Maybe you see him all the time or maybe he's up there watching over you. No matter the circumstance, it is important to realize that he's probably one of the best people in your life.

1. He's hilarious

Nobody can make you laugh harder than grandpa. Whether it's a hot take on a sports game or a great story, he's always there to make you crack up.

2. He's smart (and knows more than you've ever known in your lifetime)

You think you know a lot... And then you talk to grandpa. I'm telling you, this man knows everything you know times a million.

3. He raised your mom or your dad well

You may have some pretty incredible parents... Well, guess who raised them? Your grandpa is half of the reason your parent is as amazing as they are... That deserves a lot of credit and appreciation.

4. He lets you eat the good stuff

As a kid and now. As a kid, you'd get all the candy or snacks you wanted and we just kept it between us. Even now, half a quart of ice cream for each of us is a quality snack at grandpa's house.

5. He has shown you what true, beautiful love is

Whether your grandma and his partner in crime is still here or is watching over you, the love they've had for longer than your parents have even been alive is an inspiration. Since you were a child, you've had some pretty amazing role models to look up to.

6. He has however many grandkids and still keeps up with you

Whether you're the only grandkid or 1 of 30, somehow he always stays up to date about what's going on in your life.

7. He's genuinely interested in your life

You never have to feel like you're talking grandpa's ear off about your new job, your school or your relationship. He's all ears because he truly cares about you.

8. And swears to hunt down any person who hurts you

If you haven't got the "I'll kill anyone who hurts you" spiel from your grandpa, I think he's grandpa-ing wrong. You can cross me. You probably can't cross dad, but if you happen to slip through the cracks, you will not cross grandpa.

9. He's been there for all of your milestones

Whether it was your elementary talent show or your high school graduation, he's been there to watch you.

10. His job is just to love you

Grandparents' job as a whole is to love and spoil their grandkids. It makes sense why it is considered the best job in the world... And your grandpa is probably really good at it.

11. And he might be your biggest fan

No one cheers louder or high fives you harder than your grandpa, no matter if you're playing a sport or playing the piano. He is your number one fan and it is important everyone knows it.

12. He's known you your whole life

He's watched you go from a tiny baby to the incredible person you are now. And hopefully, he knows that a lot of who you are now is because of him.

13. He'd do anything for you

Name it and he'll do it. That's what people who love you like a grandpa loves their grandkid do.

14. He always has a smile for you

Sometimes your parents get mad at you and they're not happy to see you. No one is 100 percent excited to see you every time they see you... Except grandpa.

15. He loves you so incredibly much

The biggest and best reason he is so amazing is that he loves you. Unconditionally, always. You don't get a lot of those people in your life, so it is important to cherish them and love them back as strong as you can.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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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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