My dad died a few years ago, it was, as you can imagine, a very sad time in my life. To complicate matters, my mom, who at the time my dad died, was terminally ill with ovarian cancer. She died three months after my dad. The grief was overhwhelming; the depth of my sorrow profound. Even now just writing this brings tears to my eyes. My niece, with my dad above, who was 16 when he died, wrote the following essay. If this doesn't make you sob, YOU ARE A COLD HEARTED BASTARD.
He is with me at home, and he followed me all over the globe. I went from my home to the airport, and I noticed him behind me. On the plane, I could hear his whispers in the wind. Once I stepped my foot onto Greek soil, I could almost see him next to me. Standing and looking at the sights around me, I turned expecting to seem him there, but I didn’t. Yet I knew I wasn’t wrong. He was there with me.
The he is my grandfather; and what makes his trek with me special, is that he died two days before Thanksgiving. I was picked out of my favorite class and called for dismissal. I knew something was wrong and didn’t want to believe it. I found my parents waiting at the foot of the hallway, and they told me. I was expecting my grandmother, she was sick, not my grandfather. But here they told me. I left them to get my bags, crying. Hoping that a friend would appear to help me, but none came. So I disappeared from my normal afternoon spot, and left my friends wondering what happened.
The mood at the house was not one that would make you uncomfortable, or bring you sadness. Children were running around and there was plenty of pizza and drinks. That was the atmosphere that surrounded him, so that was how he was remembered, not mourned. I remember talking to one of my best friends that night, Jackie. And she cried for me, because she knew how much he meant to me.
What he meant to me can’t really be described in words, it’s a feeling you get when you truly love someone, and they make a difference to you. I saw things differently with my grandfather. He brought me places other children don’t get to go. Through him I saw what my hair looked like, right down to the detail of the shaft, and I saw how a stick of glass could become a beautiful frozen swan. He showed me grown-up things in a way that children would understand, and that thinking back on them, made me think he was still a child that he could show me so well.
And it’s true. Every time I saw him, he told me I was beautiful. I never had to ask twice, and I never had to explain myself. He took me for what I was, and accepted that, and loved me. He encouraged me more than anyone I knew. And once he was gone he still did. When my grades weren’t doing the greatest in physics class, I tried, saying to myself as I did, “It would make grandpa proud.” My grandfather pushes me to succeed because he made it through his life with circumstances harder than I’ll ever face, and he did with grace and dignity. He was loved by everyone he met, and loved them all back. Everything I want to be he was.
He was known as the mayor because in his travels of life, he has known so many people and still does. His humor and wit attracted people that ranged from art teachers, to congressmen. He was sophisticated in any situation you would think to put him in. Up until the day he died, he was constantly learning new things. He was a teacher and a student, and never stopped to think there was another way to be.
All these things created my grandfather. I loved him, respected him, and emulated him, and continue to do so even after his death. He set an example not only for my mother and my aunts, but for his brother, and his family, and most importantly for my brother and I. He taught that love is more important than money, and that if you have the money, to spend it on love. He taught that laughter is the best medicine, and that if you’re sad, but could be happy, to be happy instead. But over all else, he taught that there is always someone that loves you, and will support you, and he showed me that everyday.