A Growing Love – Throwback Thursday

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Grandpa & Me
Grandpa & Me

I got a surprise email today. My uncle was cleaning out his email and forwarded me an email that my dad had sent him January 20, 2005.

I was a freshman in college working on a paper for a class called CORE.We were asked to talk about love. There were guidelines & ultimately I am pretty sure I included a number of quotes from Like Water for Chocolate and edited this down to complete the assignment.

Little did I remember, I had sent my dad the first draft of the paper, I had no idea he actually shared it with his siblings.

It was a sweet little surprise filled with tears when I got it!

In honor of Throwback Thursday… my first & 100% unedited draft of this paper.

Grandpa & Krispy
Grandpa & Krispy

A Growing Love

“I love you” is a phrase that I have heard all my life from my grandfather, although it wasn’t until recent years that I began to understand the full meaning behind that phrase. From the day I was born my grandma took care of me, she would make her best effort to come and spend time with me as much as possible. My grandpa, who always referred to me as Krispy Critter, just tagged along, mainly in her interests not necessarily in his. His love for me was strong and I always knew it was there, but until recently I did not show my love back to him.

My grandparents picked me up from preschool from day one. Everyday they took me to my babysitter’s house just so they could spend a few minutes with me in the car. The day after my fourth birthday, my grandma passed away. One of her wishes as she died was for my grandpa to continue to take care of me and make sure I became active in the church. Throughout kindergarten he continued to pick me up everyday at my grandma’s request, although he did not remain active in the church. My parents sent me to Sunday school and when the time came to confirmation. My grandpa’s first appearance in the church since my grandma died was on October 30, 2000, the day I was confirmed.

My grandpa and I continued to remain close and I would go visit him from time to time, although not as often as I should have, because he only lived a mile away.

On a Tuesday in late November of 2001 I received a phone call that I will never forget. I had just come home from school and I was talking to my mom on the phone. Earlier in that morning my dad had walked into my grandpa’s house and found him lying on the ground “sleeping” next to his bed. He was hiccupping and breathing, yet was not responding when my dad tried to wake him up. After calling my mom and then calling the rescue squad my dad realized my grandpa had a “DNR” order in his living will, although it was not in effect because they didn’t know what was wrong with my grandpa, a possibility that he could live. They took him to the hospital where he remained in a The doctors did not know what was wrong with my grandpa and didn’t know if he would pull out of his coma. I was headed to a church retreat that Thursday and would not return until Sunday night.

When I called my mom on Friday she still had no news of my grandpa’s progress. Nothing had changed the following Sunday when I returned from the retreat. The doctors didn’t seem to think that he would pull out of the coma. My dad told me that night that while praying he said a prayer to my grandma, who had passed twelve years before. I remember his exact words to me being “I said ‘mom, please take The next morning I was sleeping in English class catching a quick nap after my long weekend and the secretary of my school brought in a note for me. It simply said “Grandpa woke up, -D”. I almost started crying right there in class. Not knowing how much time we would have my grandpa left with us, I started to spend more time with him. While he was recovering my dad and I often went over to visit him at the nursing area he was living at for a month. We took his dog to see him, and just spent all the time we could with him. That Christmas I wondered if it would be my last Christmas with him, not knowing if he could make it another year.

On January 7, 2002 my grandpa returned from the nursing home to his house where he would live on his own. The doctors had concluded that he had some sort of a stroke and that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a disease that causes a person to loose some of their memory, short term or long term. My grandpa was limited on the amount of driving he was allowed to do, so we came to the conclusion that I would take him to the grocery story every Wednesday for senior citizens day. Starting in June of 2002 my grandpa and I had our weekly adventures. The adventures continued throughout my junior year of high school, only not as often due to the fact that I had school until 3:00 PM every day.

Christmas of 2002 was a special one as the entire family was together once again in our house, my grandpa was home, and it all seemed so perfect. I just prayed I would get to spend the following Christmas with him as well.

When I traveled to France the summer before my senior year I sent my grandpa either a postcard or a letter once a week, to let him know how I was doing and how much I missed him. I even called him a few times from France, so when my senior year began our relationship was stronger than it had ever been before.

We continued to go grocery shopping every Wednesday throughout my senior year, being a senior I had some afternoons off, making time to spend with my grandpa. A week before Christmas in 2003 I had to have surgery on my ankle. The surgery was semi-routine, yet had a long recovery process in the weeks following it, taking away my grocery store adventures with my grandpa. During my surgery my grandpa called my dad three times to see if I was okay, the surgery only lasted an hour and a half. So when I got out of surgery I called my grandpa from the car on the way home to tell him things were okay and that I would be home for the night. Christmas Eve was special again that year, not only was I able to make it to church on crutches but more importantly I got to spend the evening with him.

My senior year came to a close and I remember on graduation night, I couldn’t have been happier to see my grandpa sitting in the audience. Thinking back three years, he wasn’t even supposed to be there. After we walked across the stage we went out to celebrate on the lawn… and I went running to catch my dad and grandpa as my dad was going to take my grandpa home. My grandpa gave me a big hug and said “Krispy, I’m proud of you and I love you.” It’s a moment spending with my grandpa I’ll never forget.

I saw my grandpa at least once a week if not more throughout the summer as I would take him to the grocery store or to get his hair cut, or even to bring my dog over to his new apartment to visit him. I thought it would make the goodbye coming at the end of the summer that much easier, it didn’t.

The goodbye I said to my grandpa as I headed off to college was the hardest one I could’ve thought. I realized throughout the last few years how much I loved my grandpa and how much I would love to hold onto him forever, something I know is not realistic, but one can only hope. I call my grandpa every Friday from school, and I send him letters every couple weeks with pictures of my friends from school in it. Our love for each other has never been stronger than it is now. I always dream of the day that I can see my grandpa at my wedding, although I’m not sure if it will happen. I have a picture of him walking me down the aisle at my cousin’s baptism, when I was three years old, hanging up in front of my computer. I never realized how much I loved my grandpa until he got sick, and now I know that I will always love him and that when he dies, I’ll know his love is always there, whether I can see it or not, I know he’ll be there for me forever.

grandpa-me-church
Grandpa & Krispy

My grandfather passed away November 2nd, 2008.I was able to pull together pieces of this paper & read it at his funeral.

I miss him daily and the special bond we shared. We had some of the greatest conversations about the simplest topics.

I received an amazing gift of 7 extra years with him & am truly blessed by that.

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