dear gramps on your 92nd birthday

dear gramps,

when i was visiting grams last week she mentioned how much she misses you. she always does. we were sitting on the porch (of course), & i can't tell you how strange it (still) is to not have you sitting there quipping about something or nothing. i just loved your stories.

grams is mostly doing well, but she is shutting down a bit, i can feel it. she had a scare last week at the hospital, but we got her out of there faster than you can even imagine. she is so funny because she still thinks she is 20 years old, skating around the roller rink with you - she so detests getting old! she has such a lighthearted, laughing way though - she is truly young at heart. remember how grams would stand at the sink & hold the counter to not fall over because she would be laughing so hard at you?!!

the one thing she mentions every time i talk to her is how many years you two were married. i never realized until lately how much that commitment really meant. i wish i were more like you both. you were both so fortunate to have one another. for better & for worse. you were a team & that is how it is meant to be.

i was thinking about being a little kid out on the dock with you looking into the canal. i'm glad for those memories. i'm glad that you had those honey bell orange trees. they were the best oranges in the whole world. i can still taste them, even now. & star-fruits! ha! my fellow friends in elementary school would stare oddly at me. they would say, "you got what shipped from florida?!!" how could they not know the joys of carambola's?! tasty little stars.

i always felt like i knew you well, even when i was a kid, & even though we didn't live close by one another. we connected. i feel like you saw my true heart. & i saw you. there was a bond there that was unspoken. i'm glad we got to live in close proximity these last years together since i moved to FL. all those games of solitaire out on the patio & sunday afternoon visits... your stories (& stubborn rants) were so funny! i would sit & just listen for hours, bringing you "treats" that you were not supposed to be eating. ha! i'm so glad now for those moments & the relationship we got to build. getting to watch the miracle of your heart melt over those 5 years is something i am thankful for all the time. you were so far from perfect, but you knew that. i'm grateful you bowed your knee in the end.

your fire & zest, commitment, work ethic & honesty are far too rare.

i have really missed you. & that's the truth. i look at the pictures from time to time... & the videos! hiawatha! to be honest, i have a hard time going over to the house and i know i should go more but i get sad. those last days were so intense - beautiful & redemptive, but intense. all things are passing, especially us, yet God remains. your life reminds me of that, especially in the strange place i have come to find myself. i get all full of anticipation b/c the God who melted your heart also holds my life in His hands, so there is a sense of wonder and hope always.

it's memorial day weekend, and how fitting that your birthday is the 30th of may. thank you for serving our country. cheers to your life.

wish you were here with us.
love, regina