a lesson learned

My grandfather passed away this summer, whom I was very close with. He was the best grandfather any girl could ever dream of. The model of a perfect gentleman, my PopPop taught me so much. A wonderful husband, he was lost without my grandmother. I loved hearing his stories about how me met my grandmother in the Poconos, their “courtship,” and marriage. It sounds so simple – yet their love was so deep.

My grandfather was the glue that held our family together. He was constantly keeping us connected with one another, boasting about my cousin’s accomplishments. He wanted nothing more than all of us to be together. He attended every single one of my important activities, as well as all of my cousin’s (there are 11 of us!). He was the favorite fan of every basketball team. All of my friends knew and loved “PopPop” – and not only for his infamous cocktail hours. He truly listened to me, and always made me feel important, valued, and cherished. Getting his phone calls were so important to me as I sought his advice on my career after college. He always assured me that something would work out, that I was smart and capable.

The intellectual loved to discuss my well-rounded education at Catholic U. At his funeral, all of his friends came up to me and said, “you must be the Catholic grad!”. He was a very devout and loving Catholic, and never, EVER, missed mass. I went to his last Sunday mass with him down the shore, at our lovely beach church. We enjoyed a typical Sunday brunch of home-cooked has browns, eggs, bacon, and coffee, followed by reading on the beach. I will never forget that day, as I waved goodbye to him on the porch of our shore house.

I think I am a lot like my grandfather, in that I am stubborn and try to fight for what is just. But there are a lot of things I can learn from him. Up until the last moments of his life, when he was suffering, he was still selfless. Even though he could barely speak he asked me about my summer job, wondering about my sister and brothers, wanting to know how we all were doing.

Why do I make public something so personal? Because writing it down is a way for me to cope with the loss I feel. Some people never get to have grandparents as great as I have, and I will never take for granted the relationship I was so fortunate to have with my PopPop.

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