"Grandfathers are not just a relative. Grandfathers are those special men who know how to cherish, nourish, help, cuddle, and advise their grandchild." -Byron Pulsifer
|Our grandfather with our dad (the older boy) and uncle. Circa 1964.|
The last time I saw my paternal grandfather was my 18th birthday party. We were all in Manhattan, celebrating with my dad's whole family; I had my hair done, I was wearing "grown-up" clothing (jeans and a cute black top!), and I felt surrounded by love. My grandfather gave me a gift, $300 in cash (which was such a Poppop gift; the man adored playing poker until the day he died!), and when he gave me the money I made a mental note to put it away and buy something for my future children. I was 18. He was only 65, there was a good shot he would know my children, so why did I think otherwise? Well, three weeks later there was a snow day. Did you ever think something and then feel like you totally jinxed yourself? Of course, we all have. Well, on April 6th, 2003, there was a weather forecast of snow and I said to myself, "If there's going to be this freak April snow day from school (I was a senior in HS), I'm going to spend all day cleaning my room!"
I didn't get the chance. There was indeed a snow day, but at 12:15 the next afternoon (April 7th) my mother came into my room and told me that my beloved, funny, wise, caring grandfather had passed away in his sleep. (For years after this I had huge amounts of anxiety on snow days...I thought someone else might pass away.)
My first thought was, "Whose Poppop died?"
It was my Poppop.
Poppop was a rare breed. An old school type of doctor who made all his patients feel like family, an amazing friend, a wise-cracking, cigar-loving-gambler, and most of all, he had the most shiny and smiling blue eyes I've ever seen.
Why am I bringing this up now? Good question. This weekend Jenny, I, and the rest of the family will be getting together for the 9th anniversary of his death. 9 years is a long time. I've graduated high school, college, gotten married, gotten a job. I'm a totally different person, and not at the same time.
The photo below of he and I is so us. He was always laughing, gesticulating, teaching, joking. And I was his quiet little "Bolivia," always taking it all in.
He was my hero: he was so beloved by so many people. He touched people's lives in a way that is almost magical. It's funny, I try not to think about how much I miss him on a daily basis, but when I think about the big things in my life, like that he really will never know my children, I get misty-eyed. My stomach flips, and I have to breathe deeply. I was so blessed to get 18 years as his first grandchild, and all I hope now is that he's up there playing poker, smoking cigars with his ski goggles on (he didn't ski, but he didn't like the cigar smoke in his eyes!), laughing, cracking jokes, and hanging out with other girls' grandpas.
|Olivia and Poppop David, circa 1988|
|Jenny and Poppop, circa 1995|