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It’s been 5 years since you passed. My Pepere, my dad’s father. You had given me 9 whole years of life; nine, to get to know you; to get close to you, to remember things about you that I could keep with me. But I never did. I always saw you and helped you , but my eyes were never open enough to see what was happening around me. I thought I had plenty of time when I got older to know you. For about two years I could have noticed that you were starting down the wrong road. You got very sick, and then, you weren’t there anymore.
I only have brief memories of things that we shared. Like when you brought Tyler and me to the rodeo. I thought it was boring, and didn’t understand the point of it. But then you bought me a pink and purple cowgirl hat. I wore that thing the entire day, thinking I fit in with the rest of the crowd there. You always loved old western things like that; Cowboys and Indians. I remember the powwow right after that. With people dressed up as Indians and beautiful music being played. There my parents bought all of us wooden flutes.
When Tyler and I were younger my dad would pick us up from daycare, and we would have dinner at your house. You would let us play with your train whistle. And try to teach us how to talk like Donald duck. Till this day I still have no idea how you did that. I remember your old chair that sounded like a car crash every time you put your feet up. I remember how much you truly loved your family. How much you wanted them around and how much you loved me. I remember this one time my parents, Tyler, and I were at your house and we were leaving. You went to kiss me goodbye, and I denied you. I guess I was kind of scared of you. You were big, you had a scruffy face, and you smelt of musk and mildew. It was a great smell though. One that even after five years, I still smell when ever I think of you.
Every time Christmas comes around, our whole family gets together and has such a good time, as if you were still here. But you’re all we are thinking about in the back of our heads. Nobody wants to admit that they are hurting without you here. Somehow though it comes out. You being gone has somehow brought us all closer. We don’t want to miss anything anymore. We want to be with each other as much as possible and no one ever wants to leave.
The one memory that I wish I could forget all together is when Tyler and I got the news that you had passed away. I remember that I was at work with my mom and my dad called crying, saying to pick Tyler up from his friends house, and to bring us to my Aunt Tami’s house. My mom rushed to the hospital after that. Tami brought Tyler and me to our house and we played games for hours. It was just stroking nine probably when my parents got home. They sat us down in the living room and told us what had happened. You had died from internal bleeding. Before then I don’t think I had ever cried so hard.
I think that when you died, I blamed God. I knew that doing so, would make you come back. But it was all I could do. You being such a strong, and powerful Christian man made me think; “How could you, God, take someone who loves and cherishes you so much away from his family and his home..” I took me a long time to realize that you were home, way up there. And being in heaven is being with your family.
I would go back, I would always want to go back and relive most of the time we shared. I know that if I made it so I was closer to you it would hurt. But barely knowing my own grandfather hurts even more. As you sit there in your engraved wooden box on Memere’s coffee table I wonder how my life would be different if you were still here… how much closer we would be.
I breathe and know that it’s because of you. I laugh and I know its yours. I smell and I know I have your nose. I feel like I owe you something. Like I need to make up things to you. You gave my father life, and I don’t know what I would do with out him. Saying that I think of you always and I pray for you always would be right. Just because your not always my main thought doesn’t mean your not there. I wish I had more memories to share, more unforgettable events, but you left to soon.
Every time I see Paula I think of you, and more than likely we cry. She always brings you up and just says these things that touch my heart. I think she misses you more than I can comprehend. I think she feels cheated with the limited time she spent with you. Same with Jesse, he only had a few short years with his own dad. I know Caitlin, Jesse’s wife, would have loved you just as we all do. She’s a sweetheart and we’re lucky that Jesse found her. I’m just letting you know that we all still have a place for you in out hearts.
I was nine years old when you left me, forever. I couldn’t accept that though. I couldn’t understand that you wouldn’t be coming back and I would never be seeing you again. I just want to say take care, take care in heaven and take care of Memere. Take care of your family like you did when you were still here.
I love you Pepere, even more than I miss you.
Robert H. Gagnon
I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush,
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft starts that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still in each new dawn