Grandpa: Gone But Not Forgotten

My baby girl was just 5 months old when her grandpa passed away, a year ago today. My oldest son, “Big”, he was the lucky one. He got to play guitar with my dad, tell him jokes, have tickle fights, and fall in love right back. Even “Little” who was almost 3 at the time speaks about my dad with a sparkle in his eye — one I hope will always be there. But “Pink”, she’ll only know pictures and stories of a man who thought she was truly God’s most precious gift.

So today, as I remember him, I’m thinking of all the things I want my little girl to know about my dad. And while the list will surely get longer and evolve as time goes by, here’s a start.

best grandpa

Pink, I want you to know that…

Grandpa absolutely loved people. It didn’t matter their age, differences, or distance. He found a very human way to connect, and his life was rich with friendship.

The people who always came first were family. He adored Nana, your uncle and me, and you kids more than you could ever imagine.

He could do amazing flips—on trampolines, off diving boards, and, yes, even off the rooftop during Christmas light-hanging fiascos.

While he had a temper like mine, he mostly had a quiet peacefulness about him. A beautiful reminder of his faith.

He was a true patriot, serving in Vietnam (where he got to fly in helicopters!—your brothers love those stories), and he always played Taps on his trumpet when he hung the flag.

Grandpa was in a Beatles-like garage band when he was younger, and he and Big used to play the guitar together—they even wrote their own song called “The Ketchup Song”.

You know how everyone talks about how sweet Little is, but he can be pretty mischievous and “adventurous” around us? Well, he got that from Grandpa.

He had a heartfelt laugh and a wonderful dimple on his left cheek. Just like you.

Grandpa had a weakness for girls with blue eyes—Nana, me, and the last girl he fell in love with, you.

While it’s true that Grandpa is no longer here with us, I’m going to talk to you about him. A lot. I’ll tell you stories with a smile. Just like he would. I’ll pat your head, hand, or leg. Just like he would. I’ll bake you chocolate chip cookies and let you lick the dough off my fingers. Just like he would. I’ll sing you Beatles, John Denver, Kenny Chesney, and Sound of Music songs. Just like he would. And I’ll cheer you on and think you hung the moon. Just like he would.

What do you want your baby to know about a lost loved one?

Read more from Amy on her slice-of-life parenting blog, Using Our Words.
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