BY Rayne Wilcox
Dear Grandpa, my best friend, my number one supporter, and most importantly, my life saver.
First off, I learned that you weren’t happy when you found out that my mom was pregnant with me. Which is understandable, because my dad was not ready to have a kid yet. You out of anyone in the family knew that. But, after I was born I was the apple of your eye. Mom told me so.
Thanks to you, I know how to drive a tractor and you gave me one of my own when I turned four years old. I remember being too short to stop it when I was finished riding it, so you would always have to run out into the backyard to stop my speeding tractor.
When I was 9 years old, I lost my brother. You and grandma both showed up to the funeral, even though he wasn’t your blood grandson. I never told you this, but that small gesture meant so much to me.
At 13 years old, I knew something was wrong with you. Not in your heart, but your mind and your physical abilities. You could no longer walk good without falling, and your speech slurred. Grandma and dad didn’t tell me anything, but I always listened into the conversation, because I wanted to know what was wrong with you. I needed to know the full story.
Soon, you were placed in a nursing home. You became too much for grandma to handle on her own. It was the only thing to do, and I know that it made you angry. Trust me, it made me upset too. You went from being this active man with his own business, to a man in a bed 24/7.
I tried to visit you as much as I could. I live in Toledo and you were all the way in Findlay, but I also had school and my mom and step dad had work. I remember you telling my step dad during one of our weekend visits “Thank you, and no matter what she is going through. She always has a smile on her face.” Which wasn’t fully true. I smiled in front of you, because I didn’t want you to see your problems affect me. They affected me everyday.
December 25th 2015, was the last day I saw you smile and awake. You were talking and I thought things were getting better, but on January 2nd, my mom told me that my dad had texted her that you were slipping away quickly and you only had about two days to a week left. I saw you one last time on Sunday, January 3rd. I never said goodbye to you when I left visiting you, but I did this time. I had a feeling that it would be my last.
I went to school that Monday. January 4th. I was having a pretty decent day. I didn’t hear anything from mom or dad about you, so I was high spirits that everything was good. I left school and I finished up my last drive time for driving school, went home, and mom had some pictures that she had ordered online laying out. She handed me some pictures of you in a king hat that you won at bingo and another one with us when I was a baby on a tractor.
My mom said my name and I looked up at her. She told me that you had passed away that morning. People have been telling me that it must be easier to take, because I knew you didn’t have much time left on earth, but it still hurt.
You were my best friend and I visited you every other weekend when I was younger. We had and still have a bond that will never be broken. Yes, I knew you didn’t have long, but it still hurt as if you died and I didn’t know about how much time you had left.
I’m going to miss everything about you and I promise that I will make you proud.