Happy birthday Poppy. I love you so much and I still miss you terribly.
Today would have been my grandpa’s 83rd birthday. I miss him terribly. I miss him so much that when I start to cry that I physically hurt.
I cringe when I recall the January night when I got the call. It was absolutely horrible. I had gone to the bathroom in the middle of the night and my phone was on vibrate on the kitchen counter and I heard it going and going and going. I checked it and there were a ton of missed calls and texts with ‘call me.’ Knowing this was not good, and immediately in sheer panic mode, I had the boyfriend call my parents and once my mom confirmed that her, my dad and my sister were okay, I knew. I just knew.
I remember my blood curdling scream (which I found out later woke our upstairs neighbor) and dry heaving in the toilet. I remember sobbing on the bathroom floor and the shock I experienced while curled up on the couch for the better part of the day. I don’t remember packing but I do remember being very angry at the airport the next morning.
In just over two weeks it will be five and a half years since he left us.
It seems absolutely unbelievable to me that it’s been that long already. I guess it’s because I talk to him a lot. And not a day goes by that I don’t think of him yet I am so afraid of forgetting him.
I know he was really sick at the end and really uncomfortable but I wish he were still alive for so many reasons. I know it’s very selfish but I can’t help it. I miss him so much.
I fully credit my love of big band to my grandpa. My sister heard a tribute to Benny Goodman on her way to work this morning. How very appropriate it was today.
I love that he tried sushi even though he shuddered at the thought of eating raw fish. He would tell me he couldn’t believe the little girl that would only eat grilled cheese and chocolate milk would eat such a thing now.
I found out after he left us, that he saved all of the ‘somebody who loves me went to (place) and all I got was this tee-shirt’ tee-shirts that I bought on my travels even though he didn’t even wear tee-shirts.
I miss our hour-long phone calls a few times a week. He hated answering my questions about him, especially the one when I asked how was he feeling and if everything was okay.
Our conversations would cover the weather, the latest news stories and what I was having for dinner. They’d also go much deeper with questions about my day, how was work going and what plans I had for the week. It sounds mundane but we covered enough ground to have long conversations a few times a week. In fact, I talked on the phone more with my grandpa in one week than with other people on the phone in a whole month!
He’d also ask me where I would travel next and if it was outside the US, he would give me reasons why I shouldn’t go. Even though I knew that when I came back and visited he would be so eager to look at all of my pictures and ask loads of questions, which I loved. It wasn’t like five minutes of mindlessly flipping through photos. It was like shutting off the television and turning off all other distractions to properly look at all of my photos so he could focus and ask questions about my trip.
He’d always come up with a silly tune about life and sing a line or two. Sometimes it had no words. That one I know by heart. De diddilly de diddilly dee dee dee dee. If you were lucky enough to hear that tune in person he would usually pull on your ear while he sang to you.
He loved watching Anthony Bourdain on television, and he would be so excited to tell me if Anthony was somewhere I had been.
Apparently, he eliminated one of the choices that my parents were planning on using for my first name. It didn’t work with the nickname he had already planned for me, his first grandchild.
He loved a good piece of pie with a scoop of ice cream and a coffee for dessert. A diabetic who loved pie…
He had a sense of humor too. When we were kids and we would leave after a visit, he would always give my sister something ridiculous, like an empty toilet paper roll, and tell her to hang onto it for him until they would see each other again.
Every year on his birthday, and the day he left this world, I get a six-pack and toast him with a Sam Adams, his favorite beer.
Sometimes I wonder if our relationship would have been the same now, nearly five and a half years later. Would he still be up for hour-long phone calls a few times a week? I think so.
Happy birthday Poppy, wherever you are. I love you.