So, this letter is being posted a day late, but I don’t think she’ll mind. 😉
April 12, 2012
Today is your 93rd birthday. Can you believe it? 93 years ago you were brought onto this planet. It seems so long ago to someone my age. I’m not even a quarter of a century old, and you, you’re getting so close to the big century mark! Time sure flies, as I’m sure you know.
Speaking of time, this year is the 5th anniversary of your death. It’s so hard to believe it’s been 5 years since I’ve seen you, had you hold my hand, and had kisses blown to me at the door. I can still see you sitting in your chair covered with its green knit blanket and just watching the life around you. You loved to just watch all the people you love be together. We were everything you lived you life for, and I don’t think you were ever happier than when we were all together. Well, add a cup of tea and then you were set.
I know you’re happy to be with Grandpa again. I know you missed him by the way you always talked about him after he was gone. You’ve missed a lot around here. Although, I know you’ve been watching from wherever it is you and Grandpa are. It’s been almost a whole year since Josh and I got married. I know you would have been so happy that day. The last words you ever said to me were “You’re so beautiful.” I’m sure you would have repeated them that day as well. I felt the more beautiful that day than I can ever hope to feel again. I wonder if you felt the same way the day you married Grandpa, all those years ago. You would have loved having all those people together, all those people who loved your girl, who were all so happy for me and for Josh. I wore your ring that day. I wanted to have you close to me, to let you share in the special day too. Your ring; his grandma’s pearls We found a way to include you =)
I brought Josh to meet you both on Memorial Day last year. He was very polite. I believe his said something along the lines of, “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Schoenig. I’m Josh. I’m sorry I never got to meet you.” It was really hard being back there, where you’re bodies are, and knowing that that is all that’s left here of you. I know your souls are off watching all of us together, but visiting the cemetery was surprisingly hard.
I wish you could’ve met Josh, formally that is. I know you would really like him. He reminds me a lot of Grandpa. He’s a big goof, always cracking jokes. He’d also do anything for me. He’s going to be the broad shouldered (remember you said he looked like he played football?), bad kneed grandpa someday that I always had. He’s certainly going to have the gray hair part down. I know you would have loved him just because I love him, but I have a good feeling you would’ve genuinely liked him as well. He’s good, kind, and hardworking – everything you would’ve wanted for your girl.
I was actually going to bring Josh to meet you on that Saturday before you died. I just wasn’t sure if you’d want to meet new people in the state I’m sure you were in. It’s one of those should’ve-could’ve-would’ve things I’ll live with forever. I’m sad the last time I saw you was after your surgery in the hospital. I don’t know how much time you spent in the nursing home, but I never made it out to see you. In a way, I’m kinda glad though. I’d rather have my last memory of you alive be when you still looked and acted like you. I hated seeing Grandpa the way he was in the end.
So, Josh came to meet you almost 4 years after that should’ve-could’ve-would’ve day. I wanted to make sure he got a proper introduction since he is your grandson-in-law. We also brought a little something special to meet you guys that day – my Maisy. I know how much you love little dogs, and, my girl, she would’ve melted your heart. She is the sunshine of my life right now. She can make any day better, and I know you would have loved her. My dad certainly does. She didn’t get a truly proper introduction, staying in Josh’s arms the whole time, because 1) I wasn’t sure if she was even allowed to be in the cemetery, and 2) I didn’t want her peeing on you guys (or anybody else for that matter).
Fast forward to this year, and I know you’d be so excited about your first great-grandbaby especially since it’s a girl. You always told me how much you loved you boys and how glad you were that you had all boys, but I knew. You couldn’t hide it. I knew you loved the idea of having a girl of your own. I was the super lucky one who got to be your first girl. So your girl’s girl? That makes her extra special. Plus, she’s due on your twin’s birthday! You have got to be excited about that one. PS: Thanks for not sending twins my way. Josh’s head would’ve exploded with a high risk pregnancy.
Anyways, I wanted to make sure you knew that her name is going to Ellabelle Louise. You heard right. She is being graced with your middle name. And, on top of having your middle name, I found out that Louise means Famous Warrior. It’s special because Robert and Roger also means famous (bright fame and famous spear, respectively). So her middle name connects you all. So her name will mean Beautiful Famous Female Warrior. You helped give our girl a strong name there. She’s going to be such a loved little girl especially with two namesakes watching out over her (plus her great-grandpas).
So, I hope you have a very happy birthday. Know that you were missed greatly today. You’re missed every day, but there are days, like this one, that are special and make it even harder to not have you here. Life goes on, and, I know, that’s how you would want it. I think the reason death is so hard on the living is not because the person is gone, but because all of the things they miss in our own lives. You are off, somewhere, with Grandpa, free of the pain and the worries that inflict themselves upon the living. You are much better off. Us though? The ones you left behind with these big gapping holes in our hearts? We deal with the thoughts of “I wish Grandma and Grandpa could be here/see this.” You weren’t there to smile at my wedding. You won’t be here to hold your little namesake. You’ll miss her first birthday, and my dad retiring. You miss everything, and that’s what hurts the most.
So, watch over my itty bit until it comes time for her to get here. Keep her safe and, please, help her arrival come easily with all her parts in the right places! Enjoy your day, and know that we all miss you, both of you, so much.
All my love,