Fourteen years ago, my grandfather died. He spent the last four and a half years of his life missing his wife. He visited the mausoleum, two miles from where they lived, at least twice a day.
He died five days before his 73rd birthday. His funeral was actually the day of his birthday – February 4.
In the next month, my mother had to pack up the apartment he and Nanny had lived in for three decades. When I think of “home”, or the closest thing I know to it, I think of that apartment. My family moved several times throughout my childhood, but Nanny & Pop-Pop stayed put. We packed up the rooms, and I lost my grandmother all over again, along with my grandfather, along with “home”.
Grandkids look at their grandparents differently than they look at most people. There’s this love that’s there without all the confusion and misplaced anger that sometimes gets projected onto parents. They are the ones who can spoil the crap out of you and tell you embarrassing stories about your parents. They are the ones that let you eat too much junk food and stay up late to watch movies if you are lucky enough to spend the night. And sometimes they are the ones you take for granted until it’s too late.
As the years pass, anniversaries like this are never forgotten. They may pass with less outward expression, but they are there, waiting in the wings. Time is flying too fast, but that’s no excuse to forget.
This essay was originally written in January, 2008. It is published here with minor edits.