She'd made her grandpa a fleece tie blanket last year. She carefully perused every fleece fabric available at Hobby Lobby until she found the perfect one - a light blue and grey print with deer and geese adorning the pattern. Her grandpa loved the outdoors and she just knew he'd love that print.
We took the pieces home and she meticulously helped cut all the edges before she and her brother tied each duo together to form a fleece blanket big enough for their six-foot-four grandfather. She helped sew on a white fabric heart into one corner, where she signed all of our names and decorated it, complete with "We love you!" across the top.
When she delivered it to her gramps, he ooh'd and ahh'd over it. He didn't always say much, but when the kids were around, he always tried his best to be a little more cheerful and talkative. He wrapped it around himself with a little help from her, and it stayed on his bed every day after that. When he passed, I brought it back home to her from the nursing home. She wanted it, but she didn't want to see it quite yet, which was completely understandable.
Yesterday was four months since he passed, and kid2 has been pretty okay. She smiles when we talk about gramps, she visits her grandma at their house and it doesn't really seem to phase her (whereas kid1 has trouble sometimes seeing the house without grandpa there). They spent all day with their grandma there today and did all sorts of fun stuff - wading through the creek, hiking along the creek, taking a bike ride, searching for turtles. She was so excited to tell us about everything they did (she just adores her Grandma, too!) When she came home, she wanted her grandpa blanket.
|All snuggled up in her grandpa blanket.|
As I wrapped her in it, she began crying the tears I hadn't seen since the funeral. Big crocodile tears spilling forth along with her gentle whispers of "I miss him so much, Mom." He was her idol. She adored him. She loved his stories and his (terrible) jokes. She loved his tickles. She loved making him laugh with her own terrible jokes. She loved snuggling him on a couch, reading to him, and most of all, she loved fishing with him. He wasn't just her grandpa, he was her buddy. She relished her visits with him.
|These two, always outfishing one another.|
There are days when I think my heart couldn't possibly ache any more than it does, and then moments like this happen. Then I quickly realize that the pain in my heart can expand exponentially when I see my little ones in pain. She doesn't understand why her grandpa had to go to heaven. None of us do. Add onto that the fact that she never even got to meet her grandma, who died three years before she was born, and the ache in her heart is far greater than I can imagine. She's not only sad that her loved ones are gone, but scared that it's going to happen to someone else she loves.
I hugged her in my arms and tucked the blanket around her until her cries softened and she drifted off to sleep. These are the moments I'm reminded of how much the little things mean to those we love. I asked her what her favorite thing about grandpa was, and she said, "Fishing with him. He'd always want to go fishing with me." It isn't about the gifts and the material items in life. Those things come and go. It's the time and the moments we spend with those we love that make a lasting impression on them. Twenty years from now, his voice will have faded in her memory. She won't remember every wrinkle on his face, nor will she still have the knick knacks he bought her. What she will have is the memories of sitting on that small, one lane bridge with a fishing pole in her hand and a smile on her face as her grandpa tells her yet another joke. So today, go out and make a memory with someone. You never know how much it might mean to them.
|One of my favorite memories of them - the kids came up with the idea to type out 70 things they loved about Grandpa on his 70th birthday! Look at my Dad's grin - he was so tickled with it! Definitely one of the best moments I can remember.|