It has been almost a month since I heard the heartbreaking news.
I know it was only a matter of time, but that did not make it hurt any less. The last thing you said to me was, "I love you too, baby." The sound of your voice continues to replay in my mind. I can feel your warmth around me, but there is nothing here to hold. I know that you are no longer suffering and for that, I should be relieved, but Papa I miss you at dinners just sitting next to me.
I miss that way you laughed at your own jokes and how you would yell at the TV. I miss the advice and all the love you had for me. I am doing all that I can to act like I am okay, but inside my heart hurts and I miss you every day.
Say hi to Noni for me, I am sure she was so happy to see you. I am glad that two of my favorite people have reunited once again. Say hi to my Aunt Kate and hug her for me too. So many people I love were taken from me far too soon. I hope you are watching soap operas and bowling on Wednesday nights.
I hope you are smiling down on me and guiding me on my path.
Things have been getting harder, and I need you to hold my hand. You cannot hold it literally, but spiritually you can. Please help me on this crazy journey because I never know what comes next.
Soon I will graduate college, just like you dreamed for me. I would give anything to have you sit in the audience and be so very proud of me. I know you will be in attendance, just a little farther away. I know you will cry tears of joy, even though I won't be able to see your face.
I have worked so very hard and will continue to do so, just know you have been such an inspiration for me to keep trying every day. I will hold my diploma in one hand with a picture of you in the other. I will take a picture and frame it, keep it right next to my bed. I will go to sleep each night knowing I made my Papa proud.
In a few years, I might be married to a man you already met. He treats like the princess you always reminded me that I am. I will wear a nice white dress, with a ring around my finger. I won't be able to send you an invitation, although I still might try. I promise to save you a front-row seat, so you can see how happy I am.
I pray to have such a long, loving marriage, just like you and Noni did. You were married for more than 50 years, something I can only dream of. You may have argued in Italian so that I didn't know what you were saying, but you loved each other deeply - that is something anyone could see.
One day, I will be all grown up, with my own house and responsibilities. I ask that you watch over me and help me through every hardship. Please make sure I find my way from the darkness to the light. My brother and I adored you and we still do to this day. We miss you very much, but we know you couldn't stay.
We hope to see you again when our long lives are through. Until then, Papa, just know that we love you.