I intended to write this letter to you on your 99th birthday, but life got in the way and I am a bit late. You know you weren’t ignored or forgotten and I am confident that you would appreciate why I pushed this off for a day.
Call it a grandson’s privilege or whatever you want.
In August it will be two years since you died. I wrote a post called He Died A Hero and linked to a bunch of other things I had written about you and your colleagues.
I had to leave home to take a new job and have enjoyed it immensely. It has been one hell of an adventure and there have been more than a few times where I wanted to pick up the phone to tell you about what is going on and to check on you, but you don’t answer calls in the traditional manner so I didn’t do it.
Your great grandchildren speak of you often and last month you and grandma were missed. We talked about you both and I shared some stories about you all. There were lots of laughs and many smiles but I didn’t share all that was on my mind.
Some of it was because it wasn’t appropriate for the setting and some was because I keep some things in the vault.
The Love Of Your Life
There is no doubt grandma was the love of your life. Seventy-six years of marriage is nothing to sneeze at and I can’t begin to imagine what that is like.
Grandma died on the night of my 14th wedding anniversary and I have never forgotten the car ride after her funeral. It was just you and I in the car. You told me more stories and then talked about how you were holding hands when you realized she was gone.
I wrote about it because it was important to remember and because these are the kind of details the younger members of your family will want to know about one day. Your great grandson has never forgotten how the three of us drove together to the tux shop to get fitted for the wedding, but I haven’t told him that I knew then you weren’t planning on hanging out for it.
He doesn’t need to know that story now, but one day I’ll tell him about how you told me you were going to tell grandma about all that she had missed and how the tone of your voice had changed.
I have said many times that you died of a broken heart and I have never once doubted that. There is nothing wrong with it, but you’ll forgive me again for saying that I wish you would have stuck around a bit longer.
I wanted you around for my own selfish reasons as well as for the kids. They really wanted you to live to be a 100 and I remember them asking why you couldn’t hold on just a little bit longer.
I think you would have laughed at that and I know grandma would have appreciated it.
We miss your stories, your smile and your laughter. We miss a million other things as well.
You and my other grandfather were so similar and yet so different.
Sometimes I miss listening to the two of you argue about where the best place to get a hot dog was in 1938, ’42 and all of the other years you included. I can’t tell stories as well either one of you, but I am working on it.
And I especially can’t tell your stories and sometimes that is what makes me miss you most of all. I loved hearing them, didn’t matter how many times you told them.
So Long, But Not Goodbye
Anyway, I have started a new life and I wish you could see it. Before I left I stopped by to visit and I made a point to check on grandma first because I know you would have wanted that.
It is late so I have to get to sleep now so I will say so long, but not goodbye.
I kept my promise and will always do so.