As May 8th approaches, my emotions begin to get a little heavier with each passing day. My heart starts to ache a little more. And as you fill my mind with countless memories, I begin to hold each one closer to this aching heart of mine. They say time heals wounds, but 3 years hasn’t been enough time to heal the wound of my broken heart after you left.
I cannot be mad at you for leaving us so soon. What you’re seeing in Heaven is much better than what you were feeling down here; I’m absolutely sure of it. I’m truly unable to express how much I miss you. The English dictionary provides words for my use, but I just can’t seem to put them together in a way that shows that kind of emotion.
You played such a vital role in the life of my sister and I, as well as Brennan and Mary Brantley. Your strong Christian faith and the life you lived as a God-fearing man taught me a lot about this world. It taught me a lot about who I should strive to be. Your love for this country and the pride you had in your service for this country taught me a true American should love this land, as well as stand up for it when the time calls. Your undying love for Grandma for 53 years taught me to never settle for love because a love like that is not something you can settle for.
The most heart wrenching fact about death is that you will never be able to physically see, hear, or touch that person again in this lifetime. Once someone leaves their life on Earth behind to enter those beautiful gates of Heaven, you will not experience their presence again until you too have entered those same gates. That’s one of the hardest realizations I’ve had to come to over the past 3 years, and I’m not sure I’m there yet. I still say, “I’m going to Grandma and Grandpa’s.” I know you’re not going to physically be there, but I also know you wouldn’t miss a visit from me for anything.
I really just want you to know a few things. I sleep with your bear nearly every night. Your knives are in my room. The shells we picked up from the guns they shot off at your funeral are neatly placed on my desk. There’s a picture of me and you where everyone can see it. But most of all, I want you to know I graduate college soon. I actually just picked up my cap and gown, and I wish more than anything I could tell you all about it. I wish more than anything I could see your face light up as I tell you I got a 92 on my FACS 497 test last week. One thing you were always concerned about was my education, and I will be forever thankful for that.
I placed a letter in your hand the day of your funeral, but I don’t doubt I should say it again. So thank you, Grandpa. Thank you for making me the person I am today. Thank you for making me strive to do better in life (even if you did have to bribe me 🙂 ). Thank you for being a role model of hard work for my dad as he was growing up. Thank you for raising my dad to be the best dad in the world. Thank you for being an example of a genuine man. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for always taking pictures. Thank you for being the same man on Sunday morning that you were on Saturday night. Thank you for serving this country with pride. Thank you for all the stories and life lessons. Thank you for loving all 4 of us grandchildren unconditionally. Thank you for everything. I can never say thank you enough for teaching me, loving me, pushing me, or spoiling me, but I will always try.
I can only hope Heaven is as beautiful as you pictured. One day I will see it for myself, but until then, keep your arms wrapped around us. God will keep us strong and safe down here, and he will keep you pain free and forever young up there. Take pictures, so you can show us what we missed. I cannot wait to see you again.
I miss you more than I could ever say.
I love you.
I still smell my money when grandma gives it to me. Sometimes I just have a little glimmer of hope that you held onto it for days just so I would be happy.
May 8th, 2013 ❤️