Wednesday, February 07, 2007

soon

My grandfather's funeral starts at 2:00 today.

I called him "Ady" when I was a toddler.

Because I was the first of his grandchildren, all of us called him that.

I was a violent toddler.

I walked around hitting everything - including my grandfather and his cat.

He taught me to be gentle, taught me to pet the cat and say,

"Ahhhh, the kitty,"
the arm of the chair...
"Ahhh, the chair,"

...and most importantly he taught me to stop hitting HIM.
He took my toddler hand and gently patted it against his forearm and taught me to say,
Ah, the Daddy."
In baby language it came out "Ady" and I called him that always.

His actual name was Jesse.

I am named for him and I am glad for that, honored by it.

My granny has asked me to speak at his funeral today.

More specifically, she asked me to read a birthday letter that I wrote to him in 1997.

I remember writing it but I didn't know he saved it.

I hope I can get through it.

I don't have a copy of this letter so I'm going to type it here both to have a copy for myself and with the hope that I can get used these ten year old words of mine so that they won't make me cry in front of my whole family and all the bridge players in Halifax County Virginia.

Here's goes...

October 15, 1997

Dear Ady,

I regret that I missed calling you on your recent birthday. I hope that it was a happy one. Mom says that you've also been through a surgical procedure this past week. I trust that all went well and you are in good spirits.

Because it's your birthday, I wanted to send you a letter about the things I remember and cherish about growing up with you in my life.

One of my ealriest memories of you is from when you lived in New Jersey. You and Granny had the two orange chairs from your current living room in the nook of the New Jersey living room. They flanked a table that held your pipes, a lamp, ashtrays and maybe sometimes Katie the cat. Your chair was the one closest to the doorway and I remember climbing on you while you smoked your pipe. When you weren't in your chair, I played ith your pipes. I read a book called "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" in your chair.

I remember one Chirstmas, after all the gifts had been opened, you told me that there might be one more in the basement. You and Uncle Allen led me down and I saw the amazing doll house that the two of you built for the first time. Even then, I was so impressed that you had built not only the house, but all the furniture in it. The house was painted and roofed like your house in New Jersey. I loved that because I loved coming to that house. It was such a comfort to me to lay with Katie in the stripes of sun that lit up the carpet in the foyer.

I remember LOVING to take walks around the block with you. It was such a big honor to be invited to walk that far with you, listen to your conversation and look at all the big trees.

I spent many hours at your desk over the years, breaking the points on your mechanical pencils, drawing on your desk blotters and investgating the contents of all of your drawers as if to uncover everything there was to know about Ady.

For as long as I can remember I have loved your world famous slide shows. They have always given me a sense of connection to myself and my family that has been very important to me. Thank you for being an historian that I have trusted and relied on most of my life.

I remember many family reunions at Granny M's house. I liked to run all around the porch and play with the millions of "M" cousins that seemed to go on forever. Granny M cooked so much delicious food and Uncle Mac makes the best Brunswick stew in the world. I remember that there was a hammock in the back yard and I loved to lie in it with cousins. I liked being at Granny M's house with the whole family. It gave me a sense of place and meaning in my life.

I remember the hours of fun I had playing the "I'll bite your finger off" game where I would cautiously put my finger in the corner of your mouth and laugh with delight when you would pretend to try to bite it off.

I remember you taking us to Otis Elevator and we got to wear hard hats and see your office.

When you moved to Ohio, you let me play with the creche at Christmas and you made me a Mankala game board. I remember that you and Granny took us to the Indian Mounds near Ohio State. Was it in Ohio that you took us to your office? I think maybe it was.

When you first moved home to Virginia, you drove me all around the "M" side of Route 58 and showed me many sites from your youth. I really enjoyed that. I'd like to do that with you again sometime.

I have always loved the wave in your hair. I don't know if I've ever told you that before, but it's been kind of amazing to me that throughout my life that wave has always been there.

I still have the handkerchiefs that you had embroidered in the South Pacific.

I guess I"m recalling all of these memories as a way of telling you that I have always loved you very much and I still do. I am very lucky to have you for a Grandfather (or are you and Ady? - ha ha) You have been an incredible mentor, teacher, historian, parent, guide and friend. You have taught me about my histroy and my family and helped to make this such an important part of how I view myself and understand my place in the world. You have helped me appreciate the simpler, guiet things life offers - like streams, woods, trees, wind and the night sky. I love you very much.

Big hugs and kisses to you Ady!

Jessica


82 comments:

whymommy said...

Jessica, this is a beautiful letter and tribute to your Ady. All our best thoughts and prayers are with you today and in the coming days as you navigate this loss.

jackieandmike said...

I have never left a comment before but I just had to let you know that that letter is beautiful - a very fitting tribute. So very sorry for your loss.

sillychick said...

Gorgeous and loving. That letter speaks volumes about how you felt for your Ady. I'm glad you wrote it to share with us. Thank you.

Long Island Dad said...

Thanks for sharing that with all us, Jess. I, for one, am honored! Our continued thoughts and prayers are with you and your's.

DD said...

My deepest sympathies to you and your family's loss. Your letter is unbelievably touching, and I'm sure it only touches upon how amazing Ady really was.

Random Thinker said...

Isn't it great he lived to read that letter? Many of us don't take the time to appreciate others around us who make us what we are.

Thanks for sharing - he was blessed to have you and vice versa and hope the great memories comfort you through this period of great loss.

mama_miga said...

What a beautiful letter - I'm sure it touched him deeply to know how much you loved him. Thank you for sharing with us.

Nancy said...

What a wonderful letter. I teared up as I visualized you interacting with your grandfather in the ways you described. How amazing that your grandfather saved it, and that your grandmother remembered it so that you can read it today. What a fitting tribute.

mama_tulip said...

Jessica, thank you for sharing this with us. This peek into your world, your love, your relationship with your grandfather, only solidifies the idea I have of the person you are.

Peace be with you today, and with your family.

xo

Dysd. Housewife said...

What a beautiful tribute. It is even more wonderful that he was able to read this letter for himself, and KNOW for a fact how much you loved him. Too many people write these kinds of letters to read as a eulogy, never having actually TOLD that person that's how they felt. You can be at peace, knowing your Grandpa KNEW the depth of your love for him. ::hugs::

PunditMom said...

I'm so sorry he's gone. I was the first grandchild, as well, and also had a special relationship with my grandfather. I just wish I had written him a letter before he passed away like the one you wrote your grandfather. It's beautiful and I'm sure everyone will be touched by it.

Melissa R. Garrett said...

What a lovely letter :-) It makes me recall the special relationship I have with my own grandpa. I'll let this be a reminder that I should write my own letter to him before it's too late . . .

Mysit said...

What a wonderful letter - and to think you wrote that when you were 10. What an amazing child you must have been. Peace and cyber hugs sent your way - I lost my own grandfather a few years ago - just 45 days after losing my grandmother, so I know how hard today will be for you. I wish I had written something like that for my Granpa. Hang in there.

Kim said...

sorry for your loss. It must be so special to know how much that letter meant to your Grandfather, that he kept it all these years...it's beautiful.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Jessica, you'll be strong for your Ady. I know this because I feel your love for him in this letter.

I am so sorry for your loss, my friend. The age of the loved one is irrelevant. Your pain is still deep.

Please let me know if I can help you in any way, and please also know I said a prayer for you and yours today.

Chaos Control said...

I can barely type this comment through my tears. You have inspired me to pay similar tribute to those loved ones in my life - now, while they are still in my life. Actually, I think I might even write letters to those that are no longer a part of my physical life, too. Thank you so very, very much for sharing this with us. And thanks for the inspiration. Beautiful.

Rachel said...

What a sweet letter. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am thinking of you and your family.

Carrie said...

Thank you so much for sharing the letter. I don't know how/if you were able to get through that at the funeral as I was tearing up just reading it.

So sorry for your loss.

NtycnBoricua said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing such a personal letter with us. It's obvious why he saved it.

Izzy said...

Your letter to Ady was so touching. I only wish I had though to write something so beautiful to the people I loved when they were here.

I am so very sorry for your loss. I hope you will find some peace in knowing that your grandfather knew how much you loved him.

{hugs}

QT said...

I am so glad you shared that and all those memories! It is obvious that the two of you loved each other very much. I am so sorry you lost him and I will keep you in my thoughts tonight, Jess.

Mommy off the Record said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved grandfather. Your letter was beautiful.

urban-urchin said...

I am crying at work just so you know. Jessica that was a beautiful letter, and I have no doubt that your Ady treasured it as he treasured you. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. I'm sure Ady loved that letter when you gave it to him and I'm sure he'll never let that letter go.

hug.

Slackermommy said...

What a lovely letter. Writing can be so healing during hard times. All the best to you.

Natalie said...

A beautiful letter. Thanks for sharing.

wayabetty said...

I hope you made it through without crying while reading this touching letter, because I didn't. It's great to have such memories to hold on to.

Her Bad Mother said...

Thank you for sharing this, and for sharing your Ady. What a wonderful man, clearly, and what a wonderful granddaughter.

Mel said...

((((((((((((((Jessica)))))))))))))
I'm no good with words at a time like this. Just know I'm thinking of you today, and my e-mail is open if you want to talk.

Mona said...

Hugs, Jessica. Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

This is a wonderful and touching post. No one could ask for a better tribute to such an obvously amazing and loving man.

Thank you, both for sharing your thoughts with me, and for giving me a chance to think about my own wonderful Papa, who I lost this past summer.

Please let me know if there is ANYTHING at all I can do to make this an easier time for you. ANYTHING.

Geologychick said...

As my baby, Shayna, would say, "Big Hugs... and a baby kiss for you." Very beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your Ady!

Starrlight said...

Jess you are in my prayers. What a beautiful letter that was and thank you so much for sharing it. Take care of yourself.

canape said...

Beautiful.

Missy said...

Thanks for sharing; it's obvious he was a wonderful person and your affection is touching. What a treasure your words were to him for him to have kept the letter all these years.

Plain Jane Mom said...

What a wonderful letter. I think he and my grandfather -- one of our kids is named after him -- would have gotten along really well. Good luck reading the letter today.

Becky said...

Jessica-
What a beautiful letter to your Ady. And thank you for sharing it with us. He's so lucky to have had such beautiful grandchildren (and great grandchildren).

Monday will be the 6th anniversary of when I lost my Grandpa... just three weeks before my Princess was born. I miss him so much and I know that he would have had such a great time with my girls. But there is so much of him in my Princess. I only wished I'd written him a similar letter to tell him how much I loved him, before he was struck with Alzheimer's.

Our thoughts remain with you and your family during this time.

sweatpantsmom said...

What a beautiful letter. How fortunate you are to have had someone so inspirational in your life, and how lucky your grandfather was to have known how you felt about him. This inspires me to write letters to everyone I love.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Mamma said...

Jessica I'm sending warm thoughts your way at this sad time. How wonderful to have such an amazing man in your life. You honor him so with this letter.

My deepest sympathies.

Amanda said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing such a touching letter with us. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Beautiful words, just beautiful!

Momish said...

How wonderful that your grandfather lived for so many years cherishing your words. What a lovely tribute to your Ady!

Mrs. T said...

kWhat a treasure that letter is. It must have been so touching for him to have received it. I hope that your time at the funeral is healing- as often times they are. Getting together with others who share loving memories of Ady will help you and be a wonderful tribute to him. May you find peace.

Shannon said...

I'm so sorry, Jessica.

Sayre said...

Ady had the best gift ever from you - "I LOVE YOU" in writing. Where he could take it out and read it from time to time.

Mignon said...

What an excellent letter. I wish I had an Ady like yours, he sounds wonderful.

flutter said...

Oh honey, what love.

AMAZING GRACIE said...

In all the advice books, they tell us to do the very thing you did - say everything that needs to be said and do it honestly. Bless you. You won't have to go through all of the "what if's," and his life was blessed through you.
My sincerest condolences,
Gracie

jen said...

oh, baby girl. what a loving creature you are. and what a rich relationship you had with your grandfather.

i am sorry for the pain you are feeling. for the loss. and am so happy you also were able to experience so much joy.

julia said...

What a beautiful letter. Your love for your grandfather shines thru. He sounds like a wonderful person, someone who will live on in your memories and the stories you tell about him.

I'm sorry for your loss.

What's For Dinner? said...

What a beautiful tribute you will be giving you your precious "Ady". I'm sure you blessed his life as much as he did yours. Grandparents are such wonderful gifts. God Bless

Shannon said...

What a wonderful gift that letter must have been to him and now to the rest of your family too.

Michelle said...

Oh god, I was crying half way through that, I'm sorry for your loss, but you must have been very lucky to have your Ady in your life.

constance said...

I'm so grateful you took the time to tell Ady why and how much you loved him (and that you put it in writing) . You must be a very special person. I'm sorry for your loss.

WILLIAM said...

I am so sorry for your loss

MamaLee said...

What a beautiful letter. You were blessed with a wonderful Ady, and he was blessed to have such a wonderful granddaughter.

Take good care, and know that you are in my prayers.

kfk said...

A beautiful letter for what sounds like a beautiful person. May you find peace in such wonderful memories.

Bob said...

What a lovely letter. He was lucky to have such a granddaughter. And you were lucky to have such a grandpa.

Thank you for sharing that letter.

Karana said...

Bravo. That was beautiful, and I am sure that it meant a lot to Ady when he received it... hence keeping it all these years.

Your memories bring back memories of my grandparents.

I hope you find comfort and peace.

Diana said...

What a beautiful letter, I can't imagine that you got through the first paragraph wihtout crying.
More hugs to you and your family. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories with us.

Christina_the_wench said...

I had to read something at my grandpa's funeral too. Here's hoping you get through it without breaking down like I did. It still chokes me up 14 years later.

Grandpas are the best.

*huge hug*

Gingers Mom said...

Lovely. That must have meant the world to him. I am so sorry for your loss.

Dirty Birdie said...

What a wonderful blessing to have had such an amazing man as your grandfather and how lucky he was to have such a loving granddaughter.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

{{hugs}}

Pendullum said...

Jessica, Read it over and over again...
It will help you get through it...
Your Ady was/would be very proud of you reading your brilliant letter to the heavens...

Mrs. Chicky said...

That was beautiful. I hope all went well today. {{hugs}}

Sandra Miller said...

Jessica, I am so sorry for your loss. Your Grandfather sounds like he was a wonderful, special man.

What an amazing bond the two of you shared.

And your letter is beautiful-- it brought tears, and I don't even know your Ady.

Thank you for sharing this.

Design Mom said...

Such a beautiful letter. How wonderful to have such a good man as your grandfather.

Velma said...

Beautiful, and exactly what I would like to have had my grandfather know, too.

Kevin Charnas said...

Jessica, I am truly happy that he saw that letter and knew how you felt.

What an incredibly lovely Grandfather...
And what an extraordinary Granddaughter.
And what a beautiful, beautiful relationship...

Know that I'm thinking of you and your family and sending you all my love.

Flawed & Disorderly said...

Aw, that makes me tear up. He sounds sooo wonderful!!! He reminds me of my grandfather who passed in '95. I keep his pipe, silver lighter, and cuff links in my china cabinet. I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house if you read that letter. I hope you all are hanging in there! Hugs!

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

Lovely post. I'm thinking of you. My mom passed away in July. She was a writer and I read one of her stories at the funeral. Somehow you just manage when you need to. I'm sure you did fine.

Remember to take some time for you in the coming days.

carrie said...

It's already almost Friday, so I am hoping that you had the strength to read that letter at your Grandfather's service.

I could barely get through it myself, it brought up so many memories of my own Grandfather, whom I never wrote a letter to.

If it means anything, knowing that you were able to share that with him years before his passing is such a gift. It really is, more than you know right now. Big Hug Jesse.

Carrie

liv said...

Blessings and peace to your family. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful piece of writing. It's a powerful reminder that letting someone know how you feel about them is tremendous.

Lux Lisbon said...

Just lovely.

Abbey Road said...

Dear Jessica-
I'm so sorry about your loss. That letter was so beautiful. I really wish that I had written something similar to my grandfather before he passed away just barely in July. I got one of his last hand squeezes and last "I love you"s. I can tell you and your Ady were very close. That's how my grandpa and I were. He called me his pet. I thought the story about you hitting was so funny and adorable. Have a wonderful weekend and feel peace from his passing. You're in my prayers. I know you don't know me but I found you via Design Mom Via Cafe Johnsonia. Feel better and I hope you get through the letter. Your family will appreciate you loving thoughts and memories from your seet letter.

Love, Abby

Jenny said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Penny said...

I am so sorry to read of this great loss to you, OTJ. Your letter is absolutely incredible. I can't imagine what it must have meant to that man. Bless you for writing it.

alimum said...

I am crying for you at the loss of your grandfather and feeling immensely jealous of you for having so many years with your grandfather.

The pain of loss never really goes away, it just gets a little easier to accept that it is there.

Thank you for sharing your love and your loss.

cinnamon gurl said...

So sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful letter. And how wonderful that he had ten years to treasure it. I wish I'd thought to write something like that to my grandparents before they passed. Thinking of you (even if it's late...)

theotherbear said...

Oh that was so very moving. Sorry to hear of your loss.

Carol said...

Its soo sweet of you to share the letter with us. Hope your family is doing well.

take care
Carol

Ally said...

Jessica, I'm just now commenting on this post because I wasn't familiar with your blog back in February...

Thank you for sharing this letter with us all. It is such a powerful reminder to not let things go unsaid. The fact that your Ady kept this letter for so many years showed how much he treasured your love, expressed so well in your words. I know you're still missing your Ady, especially now with your more recent loss. I'm thinking of you tonight, friend.

Mandaroo said...

ditto with the above, wasn't reading you back then. But, what a sweet tribute to him. He knew how much you loved him......

my dad worked at Otis Elevator when I was a kid, it was pretty cool to visit the plant (it was in Ontario, CA)