Me and PawpawToday is my grandfather's birthday. He passed away in 1996 after an extremely short battle with lung cancer and I miss him everyday. For the past several years, I mark his birthday with a small donation to the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center. It is a disease we share - along with my mother - and it feels good to honor him in some way.
In addition to the chronic illness (meant in jest), we also share a love of John Wayne movies (a trait he passed to my mom and then to me) and Grapico. Unlike my younger brother, I cannot share his love of dill pickle flavored chips. My PawPaw owned cows and pigs (Big Momma) and lots of tractors. He always had a tan line because he spent his entire life working outside.
In all seriousness, I was barely 14 on October 18, 1996 but I can remember so many details like it was yesterday. Isn't it strange how you can't remember what you had for dinner last weekend but some things are permanetly stored in your memory. I remember my dad's voice that morning. I remember the dress I wore. I remember holding my cousin's hand during the service. I remember my mom's sadness.
And it is strange how something so tragic can happen yet the world keeps turning. We have to keep living. Call me crazy or a lune or whatever but I feel like everyday that goes by we can still see pieces of that loved one. When I'm quoting El Dorado or when my brother leans against wall with his arms crossed or seeing my mom smile. Life goes on but everything we learned and loved from that person goes with us. Our hearts are no longer complete but they keep beating.
Until we meet again...
“Talk low, talk slow and don't say too much.” - John Wayne