Today marks one year since my grandfather, my Poppy, passed away. It’s been a difficult year without him- I wanted to call him every day and sometimes it was unbearable. This is that shitty part of being a human. The ones you love most will die, just like you will, and we have to live with that everyday.
The good news is that we never have to stop loving that person or remembering them. I still make “Poppy jokes” all the time, which Scott has grown to appreciate and even cracks some of his own sometimes. I thought long and hard about posting something on here or Facebook (but then I remembered I hate Facebook). I decided I wanted to share some of my favorite memories of my best friend. This is obviously not my typical blog post, but it’s an important one to me nonetheless. There was this one weekend we spent together that I think of all the time lately…
During my last semester of college, I had a long weekend off school and was told by my Capstone professor that this was a critical work weekend to stay on track with our huge 30+ page research projects. I did not listen to her and instead boarded my usual Austin to Fort Lauderdale Jetblue flight. I was going to spend three days with my favorite person. I am so glad I did- in fact, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
It was October, so the football season was in full swing. Watching football with Poppy was like listening to your smartest professor rhapsodize about their chosen field. Pop had played football as a young man in New Jersey, before it was “too rough” and before they wore padding. He knew everything about football and could explain every detail of the game to me, which was fascinating despite my lack of interest in sports. We shared dark chocolate Dove ice cream bars (since we both don’t eat a lot, splitting everything was awesome) and stayed up past his 10 PM bedtime every night.
During that little trip, we took his car service to the nice Carrabba’s on Powerline Drive. The Italian chain restaurant overlooked a man-made pond and fountain attached to a golf course. For once, Poppy and I were going out to eat alone. Every other time, we were accompanied by an aid and his friend Dan, or a family member. But this dinner was just the two of us. I pushed him in his wheelchair and he kicked the doors open for me with his white velcro shoes since it was a lot for me to manage; his spare oxygen tanks were hanging off my shoulders like heavy purses. We ordered drinks since it was happy hour (of course it was- it was 4:30 in the afternoon) and salads, since Carrabba’s has the best salads, according to him. Sometimes we talked and sometimes it was golden silence, and occasionally he asked me to read him the score of the game playing over in the bar. It was the last time I ever went out alone with him. I pushed him too fast on the boardwalk back to the Town Car, both of us joking that it was good we didn’t have to drive after our 1.5 glasses of wine, laughing. He put his hands up to feel the breeze and I listened to my sandals slap the ground. I can’t help but smile when I think of this.
I know wherever he is, he misses that too.
It is wonderful to love so much, even if it is heart breaking when things change. I will spend the rest of my life missing him, but I know how lucky I was to have my Poppy for as long as I did.
Thank you for reading.