Love Built From the Ground Up

“Grandma and Grandpa painted a picture of 53 years and one, little house….they built their love from the ground up.”

Today my grandparents would have been married 55 years. As I sit here at my desk at work, I reflect on the profound impact their love has had on me. It’s completely, totally, and incredibly awe-inspiring, and overwhelming at the same time.

Tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. Happy tears; for a marriage so beautiful, so strong, and so priceless, that nothing could possibly come close to it. Happy tears; for being able to have this love story as a part of my family….forever. I truly am blessed in the most wonderful ways.

Yet, at the same time, tears of sadness begin to roll down my cheek. Sad tears; for knowing that my grandparents aren’t celebrating this day together. One in Heaven, one on earth, it’s heartbreaking to know that my grandma has lost her companion. The man she’s been with for nearly 60 years. My heart hurts for her.

But, throughout the hurt, there is some joy, and I’m sitting here wondering how it’s possible to feel such opposite emotions at the same time. Warm memories snuggle into my heart now as I look back on their life together. From meeting at the tender age of six, to becoming godparents at age 16, to falling in love and marrying at age 20, to building a home and a family, their story is nothing short of a miracle.

As I browse through some of their historic wedding photos that I scanned to my phone, I smile to myself. I could only imagine how my grandma was feeling that day. A young bride about to marry her best friend, her soul mate, the love of her life. I wonder what was going through her mind then. I wonder what went through his mind. Did they know their story would impact their future granddaughter? Did they know that through all of life’s ups and downs, they would always manage to overcome every obstacle together?

I laugh as I remember their playful moments together. How they would sometimes act like two little children having the time of their lives. My heart turns to complete mush as I remember the romantic gestures they would show each other. A kiss, a hug, the sparks in their eyes, the “just because” gifts, the way my grandfather used to take complete care of my grandmother – simply because he loved her, and she was his world.

I cry as I remember the two short weeks of my grandpa’s illness, and how my grandma watched with helplessness, and took care of him with such unutterable tenderness.

This love, is only something that I can dream of. Since I was a little girl, it was never about Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella or Prince Charming, it was always about grandma and grandpa. And it will forever will be.


Happy Angelversary, Grandpa

Dear Grandpa,

It’s now two years since you went to be with the Lord. I remember that day so vividly. From the minute I woke up, I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t explain it then, but looking back, it was as if God was tugging at my heart, trying to prepare me for something big, trying to prepare my emotions, trying to empower me with strength. 

The night before you were called home, I remember getting down on my knees and just praying for you. Praying that God held you in the palm of His hand, held you close to His heart, and gave you the peace and healing that you deserved.

Little did I know, at 1:00pm on August 12, 2014, my prayer would be answered. It was answered in a way that I, nor anyone in our family, wanted. But, through the glory of God, He placed His hand on your heart and erased your pain. I can’t imagine what that moment must have felt like for you. Taking your first breath in Heaven, in Eternal Life, finally seeing our Creator face to face, and hearing those words that we all long to hear someday….”well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Two years ago, I had no idea how we were ever going to make it through life without you in it. The thought of not seeing you, not hearing your voice, not feeling your hugs, or listening to your stories was too painful. It shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces.  

Since then, there have been so many events that you should have been here for. My 21st birthday, my college graduation, family parties and vacations,  and the list goes on. But, as I sit back and reflect on all that has happened, I realize that you never truly left us at all. You were here for all of those moments. Maybe not in the way we would like, but you never failed to show your presence in some breathtaking ways.

Every time I talk about you, share some silly stories and memories, or remember your unique lingo, I always see a red cardinal appear seemingly out of nowhere. One day not too long ago, as I was driving to work, I had you on my mind. I turned on the radio and our song – “Who Stole the Kishka” came on. I couldn’t help but laugh. You sure loved your Polish music! Then, a cardinal flew right in front of the car. Okay – it was clear: your presence was definitely with me! I smiled with a full heart.

It’s funny. Two years ago, I never felt so far from you. Now, I’ve never felt closer to you. I see you (and occasionally get lucky enough to hug you again) in my dreams. Knowing that your permanent address is in Heaven makes me feel safe and secure. Knowing that your blood runs through my veins makes me feel that you never really died, but you now live in your children and grandchildren. How proud that makes me.

There was always one thing that I promised I would never do, and that was to disappoint you and let you down. I hope I haven’t. If I did in any way, I want you to know how sorry I am. More than anything, I want you to smile when you’re watching over me. I want you to be as proud of me as I am of you.  

I’d be lying if I said that losing you still doesn’t hurt. Because it does. There are days when I question why you were taken from us. There are days when the waves of grief seem to overwhelm me. There are days when I feel like I am right back to square one. But, then there are days when I seem to hear you whisper into my heart “Allison Marie…I see you, I’m here with you, you’re going to be just fine.”

So, happy second angelversary, Grandpa. You righteously earned your wings. Thank you for blessing me each and every day. Thank you for the life, the joy, the memories, the smiles, the laughs, and the happiness that you brought, and continue to bring into my life.

I love you,

Forever your granddaughter.