Dear Grandma Kaye,
It’s been a year since your passing. And, as cliche as it might sound — it really does seem like yesterday. I miss your presence like crazy — the long chats about Britney Spears’ audacious belly button, the current political scene and tennis — a sport I never cared for, but pretended to when carrying on conversations with you.
Over this past year I’ve imagined what our conversations would be like about the Presidential Primaries — the disdain for the mudslinging from both sides, the Hillary Clinton email scandal and of course the endless jokes we’d make about Donald Trump’s hair.
As much as I could never stomach Hamburger Helper — I miss that distinct smell that permeated the house every Sunday afternoon. Not because I miss the actual smell, but what that smell represented. It was the loving charity you had for your family and how that one meal could alleviate a burden.
I will miss the birthday, Christmas and any other appropriate holidays we found fit to exchange cards at — just for the fact that we always tried to make the other laugh with the chosen card. Over the last couple of years those cards got more heartfelt and more tame — maybe that gives me hope that at 88 I might be able to finally mature?
Grandma you’ve always been my biggest fan — even when I felt that I felt like I had nothing to add to the world around me. You taught that me that was self told lie and to never listen to that voice. You always encouraged me to express my heart — in word and action — never judging the people around me.
You taught me to never judge God’s handiwork — that there’s no room for racism, bigotry or hate. You taught me how to forgive when forgiveness seems impossible, you taught me that there will never be room for love when your unforgiving heart is filled with hate, bitterness and malice.
These lessons were learned not through lecture, but through the time I spent listening to your countless stories told me over cheese, pickles and — yes — even Hamburger Helper. Meals that were always ended with cookies and ice cream — and of course a bag of cookies for later.
The void of your presence is apparent — but, not felt. I’ve never felt any further from you now as I did before your passing. Whether it’s through the physical reminder of some of the things you left behind with us or the moments I know you’re there.
Those moments I can sense your encouragement, concern, love and compassion for us on this side of the veil. Those days, weeks and months after your passing — I knew you were close. I am sure your heart broke just as much as ours did as we dealt with our parting.
I have felt your presence during my times of trail — an encouraging thought or feeling of immense love — has often been the difference in those moments. And, I can’t tell you how many times I felt you ran alongside me — especially during the last two miles of my 50K. I felt how proud you were of me and the changes I’ve made in my life.
Those times I feel your presence as I run not only makes me feel closer to you now — but, the thought of running in heaven EXCITES me to no end.
Grandma, I love you — and as you told me many times, our relationship is not a Grandma-Grandson relationship — our relationship is a friendship. I can’t wait for the day we can once again look each other face to face and laugh, reminisce and fix all of the world’s problems — especially when it comes to Britney Spears’ belly button.
But, until then — I’ll take some precious moments we’ve shared in the past year — and will in the future. I’ll look for you when I am out on the race course, the trails and road and cherish those moments together. I’ll cherish in those moments of encouragement and love.
But, I will forever see you in those family moments when heaven meets mortality — at those moments of birth and passing — knowing you’re not far away. I haven’t felt your presence as strong as I have lately — especially with the arrival of — yet — another great grandson. And, I know you won’t be far when I welcome my own children into the world. I long and will cherish that day.
And to steal a favorite line of yours — know you are loved; always have, always will!