Four years ago today, my grandpa who I mention here often, died fairly suddenly. He had battled lung cancer off and on for 7 years but his attitude was so good, I don't think any of us really thought he was going to die. I think the whole family realizes how lucky we were to have him so long after he got sick, but that doesn't make living without him any easier. He was one of those strong, fighting spirit types who continued to live his life as a cotton farmer in between chemo treatments and xrays. I'm sure he suffered on a daily basis but rarely complained about it and most people wouldn't have known he had cancer.
I absolutely believe that next to my girls and husband, he is one of the most special people I'll have in my life. Four years later, I still think about him every single day and have the most wonderful memories of growing up with him. He was as hands on as a grandpa can be and really played a large role in helping to raise my sister and I after my parents divorced. He had such a great sense of humor and was one of those rare people who just seemed to really enjoy life.
Today, I'm thinking about how his blue eyes would sparkle when he smiled. The smell of his pipe tobacco. How soft his bald head was when I leaned down to his recliner and kissed him goodbye for the last time. The way he kept track of all my doctor appointments when I was pregnant with Bella and would call me after each one if I didn't call him first. I'm thinking about how excited he was to be a great grandpa. So excited that he bought Bella her first electronic, ride on John Deere tractor when I was only 5 months pregnant. The way he would shop for her at Kohl's and have a stack of pink and purple outfits for Bella when we visited. And I'm remembering when he told me in the hospital that my sister and I meant the world to him and that we had made him very proud and happy. And then when he came home from the hospital for a few days and we thought he might recover, he told my sister he took back all of the nice things he said. We adored him, and knew that he adored us.
He loved to celebrate and was the life of the party. So, tonight we're having tacos which is what my mom always made him on his birthday. We'll also have ice cream and Steve and I will take a shot of grandpa's favorite Irish whiskey. I'm really not a spiritual person but I'm hoping to feel him with me here today. I still miss him so much that I feel sick. Our family just seems so incomplete without him.
Here's a scrapbook page I did about him last year for my journal book...