Thursday, May 27, 2010

I loved my pappy. I always called him ‘pappaw’ but when I think of him now, I think ‘pappy’. It’s the same for my grandmother, who I will forever call ‘mammal’ but will always think ‘grannie’.

He passed away in 1998 after a long struggle with cancer. I will never forget that night, I will never forget the last time that I saw him. He smiled so big, he waved and I waved back. I walked out of that hospital without a single thought of that being our last goodbye.

I had a concert that night. It was Christmas time and I was in fifth grade. Mrs. Toby was our music teacher and she always loved putting together little concerts and shows for our parents to come to. Anyone who ever attended C.F. Holliday and knew her, will remember and tell you about the Wack-A-Do-Zoo. I’m pretty sure that I was a pig that mooed.

We went to see my pappy that night. My memory is a big foggy but I’m almost positive that it was before my concert. My dad took us to see him, ‘us’ being my brother Robert and me. He was in the ICU and my grannie was there by his bed side.

We didn’t really talk, I just curled up in the bed next to him, being accustomed to sitting in his lap even though I’d grown far too large for it. He couldn’t talk then anyway. The cancer had started in his neck and years before they had removed his voice box and inserted a trachea. I remember the pad and pencil that he had with him, to communicate with the doctors, nurses and family.

I was too young to understand it fully then. I thought he would get better and come home. I thought that when someone went into the hospital, they always came out. But he didn’t come out.

My dad woke me and my brother up the next morning for school. We got dressed and had breakfast and as we were walking out the door he simply said, “Oh, you’re grandfather passed away through the night. I almost forgot to tell you.”

I was devastated.

I cried all the way to school. I cried during my first class. I left during my second and went to the office to call my grandmother. I just remember telling her that I was sad. It was the only emotion I felt that day. Just sad.

To this day it makes me sad. It breaks my heart every time that I think of him or talk about him. I have a picture frame that I’ve always kept close to me that is the home of a single picture of us: me sitting in his lap, just like old days. I miss him a lot of times like it he just left us yesterday. Even now I sit here almost unable to see my computer screen because of the tears that continue to bubble and fall from my eyes.

I know he is in a better place. Home with Jesus in paradise without anymore of that pain and suffering he knew here on earth. I know I’ll see him there again one of these days. But knowing just lessens the hurt, it doesn’t take it away.

Memorial day always brings back the memory of my grandfather. It always brings back that raw hurt and emotion I feel when I think about him. I usually go and visit his grave on this sacred Monday. I dust off the grass and dirt from the plaque at his feet and read over the words written there, the details of his days in war.

Memorial day is about honoring and remembering those who died in war, those who gave their life for the safety and freedom of this country. But to me it’s more. To me it’s about remembering my pappaw, the man who stole my heart as a little girl. The man who’s face will always be imprinted in my mind, waving and smiling as I walked away, saying goodbye without ever even knowing it.


  1. What beautiful memories of your grandpa. He sounds like he was a great man.

  2. O Jenn... my heart breaks for you... I know that feeling, the knowing that he is better now, but it still hurting just as bad.

    This was a beautiful, honest story... it means so much that you shared it.



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