Today is my Grandpa's birthday, he would have been 86 years old. He passed away last year, right before his 85th Birthday. We were dealing with funeral arrangements, etc.; we were so immersed in thoughts of him, that it didn't feel like it was his first birthday without him here.So to me, this is the first time February 26th feels sad.
My Grandpa was a very intelligent man that loved baseball. He LOVED the "Cubbies," as he called them, and anxiously awaited baseball season every year. He played the snare drum in the Army's "Drum and Bugle Corps.," and still remembered almost all of the French he learned while stationed in Paris in WWII. He voted in every election and befriended every dog he ever met. (My Josie dog was his favorite and she was crazy about him!) He would called me "Bu-fee-ul" because I started calling him "Beautiful" when I was two, only it came out "Bu-fee-ul." He read the newspaper every day, even as his health declined and it would take him almost all day to do so. He cried the day that he took me aside to tell me my Grandma had Alzheimer's Disease.
My Grandpa's death was different than any of my other grandparents because he was ready to go; he wanted to be with his Honey. When my Grandma passed away, nine months before Grandpa (5/05), the light in his eyes left, his purpose for being here, gone. Each week that he could, he would buy three perfect red roses and set them by her chair. Red roses were her favorite.
When my aunt was very young, my grandparents brought her with them to the mall one day. Somehow they got separated and they had always told her if that happened, she should stay put and they would find her. She was scared and sat down underneath of a circular clothes rack. My grandparents were searching for her when all of a sudden they heard a little voice saying "Honey, I'm here Honey," and "Honey, Honey, Honey!"
She was just a little girl and she thought her parents real names were Honey, because that's how they always spoke to each other. They held hands, he always got out and opened her car door, she kept the red dress she was wearing the night they met. They were married for 60 years, (60 years!) and I never remember them fighting. He loved her; loved her in the way all women want to be loved.
My Grandma died when I was six months pregnant with Spencer. She had Alzheimer's Disease, and at the end her mind was locked in the past. She spoke to her Honey like they were still newlyweds living in New Jersey. She never knew I was pregnant, but my Grandpa liked to think that primordial Spencer and my Grandma got to know each other then, in Heaven.
I knew that he was going to die and I was at peace with that. He believed his Love was waiting for him, was anxiously anticipating his arrival, and he had never- could never- disappoint her. My Grandma was one of the luckiest ladies in the world- she was loved for 60 years by a great man who spent his life faithfully devoted to her.
Happy Birthday Grandpa, I Love You!
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