I love you

I love you more than my innumerable words can say. More than this human mind knows how to process.

My love for you fills my body to the bursting. From fingertip to fingertip, my love for you pours out, unable to be contained, strengthened by the unwavering love you have always shown me.

For you have been a constant presence, so much more than what a grandparent typically is. You have, and always will be, my third parent and so much more.

You are my first teacher. From learning to string together letters to form the words that would come to be my escape, my passion, my life-breath, to the numbers added together, always building, a sense of security I carry with me.

Hippopotamus. The first word that recollection calls forth when I think of all you taught me. The word I have scrawled across my leg in your handwriting. A part of you forever with me everywhere I go.

You are my first babysitter. So many nights spent laughing together as we watched the same movies again and again. You didn’t know that this repetition was something meaningful for me, but you acquiesced again and again to watch the movies of my childhood, though I’m sure it wasn’t as interesting for you as it was for me.

We used to go for rides in your deep red car with long front seat where Kris and I would fight over who got to sit in the middle, the most prized of seats, treasured not only for its novelty but for the proximity to you.

You were the biggest supporter of my drive to read. Our trips to bookstores will always be treasured memories held within my heart. As I devoured book after book, you listened to me relay the stories, rarely understanding but always there to listen.

You filled my shelves with more books than I could have dreamed of. A portal to other words that became my saving grace.

You tried your best to learn the complicated names of the characters I talked of endlessly, their convoluted letters stumbling from your lips in an act of love.

You are the reason I write. From the time I scrawled simple words upon page, you have always praised and supported my writing, giving me the encouragement I needed to continue. Through your support, my words now reach thousands. You helped me build the tools that have become my purpose.

I remember fondly all the nights we spent together watching our shows. Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Survivor, CSI, and so many more. When homework was done and dinner eaten, I always looked forward to the time we got to spend together.

I remember the songs you sang to help me off to sleep. Your quiet voice filled with love became the foundation of my dreams.

I remember so clearly the day you broke your hip. Kris called me as I drove to church to tell me you had fallen. I barely remember the drive that followed as my car carried me quickly to where you lay. My heart broke to see you in such pain. Fear gripped my heart at the thought that you might die.

But you’re dying now, and that’s ok. I know that this is what you have wanted for far too long. You are tired. You are done. You have lived a good life and are ready to rest, and that’s ok. I’m ok and I’ll be ok.

For you have taught me so much. So many things that will stay with me forever. You will live forever in my heart and the hearts of the countless lives you have touched.

I will honor your wishes and celebrate when you pass. I will celebrate the beautiful, amazing life lived by the kindest, most generous, most amazing person I have ever known.

You will be gone, but never forgotten. Your memory, your legacy, will live forevermore.

As I move forward in life, I know you will always be with me to guide me and keep me safe. As you rest in heaven, I know you’ll be with me still.

I love you more than words can say.

And I know your love for me will never fade.

I know not how many days are left or which goodbye will be the final one. But if these are the last words I say to you, please know how much I love you and how much you have shaped me and how much you will be missed and that we will be ok.

I promise to watch out for the beautiful boys who call you GG. I will make sure they never forget you nor how much you love them.

I promise to support my sister and continue to build the relationship you’ve always wanted for us.

I promise to care for mom and dad as they age. I will care for your only daughter as the years go on and will make sure she always has a home and always knows that she is loved.

I promise to always keep singing for you for I know how much you always like to hear me sing.

I promise to always keep writing for I know how you have carried my first poem with you for decades.

I promise to be the best that I can be, to always be striving to be better, to do good.

I promise to always make you proud with how I live my life for I know you’re always with me.

I promise to love you forevermore.

For you are my sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey.

I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.

A you’re amazing. B your soul is so beautiful. C you’re courageous. D you’re my Ding. E your love’s eternal. F you’re forever in my heart. G you look good to me. H you’re so heavenly. I you’re the one I idolize. J you’re judicious. K you’re so kind. L is the love we’ll always share. M, N, O, P, I could go on all day. Q, R, S, T, alphabetically speaking you’re ok. U made my life complete. V means you’re very sweet. W, X, Y, Z, It’s fun to wander through the alphabet with you to tell you what you mean to me.

I love you, Ding, and always will.