Forever and Always: A Tribute to a Dear Belated Loved One

When I entered this world, you were one of the first to ever visit me. When you left this world, I was one of the last to ever visit you.

But I should have visited more.

I should have come more when I knew you were sick and that our time together would be much shorter.

I should have visited long before you were ever sick, and back when I thought you would be around forever.

But time is rigid and uncompromising, and it refuses to allow me to go back. I can only go forward. But there is something that time can not control. There is something that will stay with me until the very end.

My memories of you.

I don't remember the first time you ever visited me, but I have photographs to immortalize the occasion. I don't know what your first words to me were or what you thought when you held me. I don't know if you smiled or cried or laughed or sniffled. The pictures can only capture so much, and they don't let me know how I felt or thought. I am not even sure if I did either of those things, though I assure both feeling and thinking have been practiced in abundance ever since. All I know is that you were one of my first visitors, and that an amazing relationship had begun.

But I do remember when I started to visit you.

I remember being excited that I got to venture off into the country. Back then, it was a mystical land where I had potential of seeing horses or cows or immense fields of towering corn. It was an adventure going to the country, but the real reward was being able to see you.

I remember the stories you would tell, that would allow a boy's overactive imagination to fly to new heights. You may never have considered yourself imaginative or creative, but you were a storyteller. You always helped connect me to a past I knew nothing about. You opened a window into a fascinating world that I never experienced, but one that helped form the woman who would become my mother.

I remember that big tree that I used to climb, and all the stories you'd tell me about it.

I remember the food.

Oh, how I remember the food. The food that once caused a young boy to proclaim, "Why is your food so much better than mom's?"

Speaking of food, I remember caramel popcorn.

There is only one type of caramel popcorn of any value in this world. It is the caramel popcorn that was made by you. I can still smell it. I can still taste it. I can still remember how much that caramel popcorn was a huge connection to my childhood.

I remember how every time I arrived for a visit, you would happily declare you had just made a fresh batch of caramel popcorn.

I also remember my mom then spoiling it all by telling me I'd have to wait for after dinner. But deep down, I knew it was okay, because all your food was marvelous.

At one time, I did visit you. I visited you a lot. I remember when every summer vacation had to include a week long visit to your house. I remember that the extra bonus of having a new sibling enter into the family was the promise of a vacation at your house. Oh how I loved going to your house.

I remember our long walks to the grocery store. I remember you taking me to the park. Many years later, I remember you telling me how you had to devise different stories in order to convince me that maybe it was time to stop requesting 'underdoggies.'

But what I remember the most, is how it all made me feel. The visits were a very happy place. A place I felt loved. A place where I learned my past, and about all the different people and places I had connections.

Then I grew up. The visits started just becoming my weekly chore of mowing the lawn. Sometimes, I still had time to come in and drink pop and eat some, oh yes, caramel popcorn. Because even when I no longer considered myself a kid, you still knew my connection to your caramel popcorn.

But of course, you knew everything or so it seemed.

You knew everyone's birth dates or when they last visited or where every member of your massive clan lived. Your mind was sharp, just like your love was strong.

I didn't know then that my weekly mowing would be the last real regular visits. If I did, I am sure not much would have changed. Sometimes we move on and convince ourselves it is a good thing. Even when it is, we miss that past and what we used to cherish.

I wish it was different. I wish my wife saw you more. I wish she could realize how connected you are to my past and how much you control some of my happiest childhood memories. I wish I was able to be that kid again, who so eagerly wanted to see you and play in your backyard and of course, eat your caramel popcorn.

Like I said, time blocks up all roads to a physical return to the past. I can't be that kid again, no matter how much I yearn for it.

But it will not block my memories.

Or my love.

Though at some point, memories and love become almost the same. I remember because I loved. I continue to reminisce because I'll never stop loving.

You were a huge part of my wonderful childhood. You always will be a huge part of who I am. There are the obvious reasons, because I needed a mom to get here. But there are the much more important reasons.

Reasons such as the way you passed your work ethic and marital love and family values on to my mom. You demonstrated what marital love should be to my mom, and she so wonderfully passed that on to me. Thank you, for showing me what love and devotion is. Thank you for raising and guiding the greatest mother a boy and man could ever imagine. Thank you for all the things that I don't even know you are responsible for.

I do know you gave me stories and memories. Treasures that I'll never give away or try to hide away from others. These are gifts that remain close to my heart and force me to smile when I think of you.

I wish I visited more, but I know these memories will remain. I can return to them whenever I miss you or need to see my childhood one more time.

Thank you.

I love you.

Forever and always, Grandma.


  1. Anonymous10:49 pm

    Emily Spicer via Facebook:

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