Today, my grandfather died. When I got the phone call from my mother, I felt like I’d been punched in the solar plexus. My breath whooshed out and all I could do for several moments was sit, gasping for breath.
He was 88 years old, having just had a birthday on September 18th. He’d been ill and steadily getting worse for some time. I’m glad he isn’t hurting anymore.
But I hurt. Because I’ll never see him smile at me again.
The last time I saw him, he didnt remember who I was. He only knew he was supposed to know me. That was 6 months ago. The last thing that I said to him was “I love you granddaddy. I’ll see you later.” And he didnt say it back because to him I was a stranger.
I miss him. I’ve missed him for a long time. When I was a kid, he was one of my favorite people in the world. He always had lollipops and roses for me and my sisters. When I was older, he told me stories of his time in WW2 and about his work at the VA hospital. I lived with him and my grandmother while I was going to college. I loved talking with him while he watered his plants and sorted the garbage out. He had a serious thing about not wasting stuff. We’d eat ice cream on the back patio sometimes. His favorite was peanut butter cup ice cream. He loved loved peanut butter. But we could only have a few bites of ice cream because he had diabetes and we didnt want to make him sick. He picked me up from work everyday because I didnt drive and he said it wasnt safe for me to take the bus home at night. Everytime I ever needed him, he was there for me. He even let me mooch his breakfast sometimes. My grandma would always cook him this enormous breakfast at like 11am because he always slept in.
I remember how it felt to give him a hug the last time. And how it felt to kiss his cheek. I’m glad that I got to tell him I loved him. And I know that he loved me too.
I just miss my grandfather.
R.I.P William Cook.