Dear Grandpa (Creative Writing)

This week's writing prompt was: Letter to a Lost Loved OneWrite a letter to someone in your life that has passed away. You can tell that person the things you wish you’d said, tell that person some of the highlights of your life, whatever you want.

----------------------------- Dear Grandpa,

It has been years since you passed away. I trust you are somewhere in the afterlife enjoying Grandma's cooking. I never had the chance to tell you how much you truly meant to me. As I've grown older, I've come to realize that you were the one true father figure in my life...the dad I never had. I was just a teenager, about to turn sixteen, when you died. This knowledge and understanding of what you truly meant to me, were not all that clear to me then.

You taught me so many things, just by being you.

You taught me how to garden, a passion that is near and dear to my heart now. Whenever I see marigolds, I think about the time you showed me how to grow them from seeds. I try to plant marigolds in my garden every year, it's my way of having a little piece of you nearby. I smile every time I see the warm orange or yellow glow of the petals. They represent love, they represent you.

You showed me that with hard work and determination you could run a business and be your own boss. I remember the instant I realized such dreams were possible. I was sitting in your office and spinning around and around on your chair; as eight-year-old's often do when in the presence of a swivel chair! I remember spinning and spinning, looking around at your office. In that moment, I had realized you were the boss. I was in awe and admired you. I wanted that some day.

I also learned that sometimes laughter is the best cure for a bad day or a bad mood. A joke about peaches still manages to bring a smile to my face and to the family's – over 20 years after it was originally told. Your jokes transcend your life on earth.  Whenever one is told, it reminds me of your unrelenting sense of humor.

The most important lesson I learned from you was the overwhelming love you had for family and the willingness to be there for them. Family is life and family is love. You loved your family, you were hardworking, you offered support (emotional and otherwise) when one of your children or grandchildren needed it. The clearest memory I have is when you and Grandma would leave bags of groceries and fresh bagels on our doorstep; back when my mom was a single mother raising three children. Every Wednesday, like clockwork, the bags would be on our door front when we got home from school. You never left a note or mentioned it to us, but mom knew. We knew.  I was only about 6 or so..for me I was just happy to get fresh bagels! Looking back, that was just one very clear example of helping family. I am grateful.

Years later we visited you in Florida. By this time, you had been diagnosed with cancer. We were visiting around your birthday and you ended up in the hospital. We gathered around you in the hospital and sang happy birthday to you. We had learned from you,that family doesn't just mean to be around in the good times, but the hard times too.

When you passed away, I cried. I was sad, but the loss really hits home more now that I older.  You were an amazing person, father and grandfather. Yes, as a human I am sure you had made mistakes in your life. But, as far as I am concerned the good most certainly outweighed the bad.

I like to think that you are somewhere in the sky looking after us and we are making you proud. You helped mold me into the woman I am today. I am so very proud to have had a chance to know you and call you my grandfather.

I miss you and I love you.