Get Up, ‘Cuz Mickey Loves You

Dear Grandpa,

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.

Selfish Reasons

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.


Your Grandson

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  1. that cynking feeling February 8, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    It will soon be the “anniversary” of my paternal grandmother’s death. Her birthday was a few days ago, too, so she has been on my mind. Oh, how I wish she could have met my son. And I wish I had had the sense to write down more of her stories and bits of knowledge. I think it’s great that you are capturing some of your grandfather’s stories here.

    • Jack February 9, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Sometimes I feel ‘crazed’ because I should have started writing these stories down sooner, forgotten so much and so many. I understand what you are saying about your son. My daughter was 2 when my paternal grandfather died, so she doesn’t remember him at all.

  2. Robin February 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I miss my grandparents so much. Only my daughter got to meet them. She remembers that every time my grandfather visited or we visited him, he made up a sandwich bag full of treats and quarters. My fondest memories of my childhood involve my grandparents. I was thinking about them last night. They loved me unconditionally and without expectations.

    Oh, how I loved this post 🙂

    • Jack February 9, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Hi Robin,

      Your last line resonated with me. My grandparents were in many ways my biggest and best cheerleaders. One of my biggest hopes/goals is that my children grow up with similar feelings/memories of their grandparents.

  3. Marcy February 8, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Both of my parents died too young, and one of the things I miss the most is that my kids were too young to really remember them well. I like the idea that through writing you can preserve some memories for the great grandchildren.

  4. Natalie DeYoung February 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

    So similar to what I would have written to my grandmother, though she didn’t even make it to her 80’s. Beautiful letter, Jack.

  5. Aisha February 8, 2014 at 5:18 am

    Thank you, I miss my grandparents very much, too, your letter is so beautiful

  6. Joe March 19, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Whenever I post about my grandparents, this is what I hope it reads like to the people that pay attention to the blog. Thanks for more inspiration from the pen (keyboard) of Jack.

  7. Betsy Cross March 19, 2013 at 3:27 am

    “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.”
    I think their story-telling got better as they got older because they stop caring about what people think. They add emotion and hand gestures and yell at you or others (sometimes) if they get interrupted or challenged.
    I could listen to the same story from them forever just watching the joy they have telling it!

    • Jack March 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      You are so right about “older people” losing their inhibitions. They just start to say whatever is on their mind without any fear and the tales they tell are often marvelous because they were presented in a fearless style.

  8. Julie Barrett March 19, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Thank you for making me cry at 5am.

  9. Stan Faryna March 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Any comment may seem inappropriate. But I can thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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