We were going to make a grand escape. When the coast was clear and the time was right he could take my hand and we would run down the hall. We would escape passed the nurses and run outside where my grandma was waiting with the van. He would jump in and they would peel out of the parking lot, hot rod style like he drove as teen, tires squealing. They would make their escape down to the farm and, of course, live out their happily ever after as they planned.
When the moment came I was there. I was able to take his hand. And I know in my heart that my grandma's spirit was in fact waiting for him. He made his great escape. They will get their happily ever after.
It has been a difficult few weeks. I am not even sure I can express in words how deeply I will miss him. We spent quite a bit of time together over the last few years between weekly dinners and my random drop ins to hear stories or learn about natural fixes to something me or a friend had going on. I resonated strongly with his will to find natural and food based solutions and avoid drugs. He was my grandfather, my friend, and my mentor.
One night when I stopped by his house he told me about a conversation my grandma and him had shortly before she passed. She had admitted to him that she did not feel as beautiful as she once had and that in all honestly it had begun many years before when she was pregnant and her body had first begun to change. He said he was shocked because to him she was still the most gorgeous woman in the world. And he admitted how much it broke his heart to realize he hadn't told her just how beautiful she was often enough so she knew it.
Grandpa looked me straight in the eyes and took my hands. He said that, in case Mark forgets to tell me enough, that I am the most beautiful woman in the world to him. And that this pregnancy, this belly and all the changes my body are going through, make me MORE beautiful not less. He asked me to please always remember that, that I am beautiful just like my grandma.
My grandfather was a beautiful man. He was feisty and funny. He had a huge heart. He was a good man. And I will always remember his stories and the way he loved my grandma.
I'm sad that he will not get to hold my child when she is born. He had lovingly referred to her as his little birthday present. He was even the one to do our gender reveal for us. But his great granddaughter will know him. She will know him through the stories and the pictures. She will know him through the love and messages he has passed down to me.
I'm so grateful to have had so many special moments with him over the last couple years. I'm grateful for our dance at my wedding. I'm grateful for our one on one talks. I'm grateful for Tuesday night dinners. I'm grateful for all the laughs we shared and all the advice he gave. I'm grateful to have legally changed my name to AmandaRey last year, and while I did it for many reasons, I'm grateful to carry his name (Ray) with me each day. I'm grateful to have been there to hold his hand and witness his great escape. And I'm grateful to know in my heart that he is with my grandma once again.
Who means the world to you? Who has made a lasting impact? Have you told them just how much they mean to you?
May we honor our loved ones today. May we take the time to reach out and tell the ones that are still here how much they mean to us. And may we find comfort in the knowledge of our hearts.