**These posts often contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for details.**
Today is the one year anniversary of the day my Grandpa Pettit passed away.
This time last year, our family had spent the last week almost exclusively at the hospital, alternating between tears and grief, and gratitude for time to say goodbye.
It was a tough week.
And then, in the early morning hours of July 16th 2013, my grandpa passed away peacefully in the quiet of his home, surrounded by his cherished wife and some of his closest family.
– – –
It’s still strange to me that he’s really gone.
I find myself expecting him to be sitting in his recliner when I stop by to see my grandma.
I ride his bike when I go on bike rides with my mom and I’m flooded with memories of him in his flip-up sunglasses and big grin.
He loved to ride his bike.
– – –
I dreamt about him once, a month or so ago.
In the dream, my mom, sister and I were in Vegas with my grandparents, like we were once in the early 2000’s. We were all snuggled into beds in the hotel room, with popcorn, ready to watch a movie.
I woke up happy and feeling melancholy at the same time.
Grief is a weird thing…
– – –
A letter to my grandpa:
It’s the one year anniversary of the day you died, Grandpa.
I can hardly believe it’s been a whole year already.
It doesn’t feel any more real to me today than it did 365 days ago, and I think lots of our family would agree.
I think we’re still waiting for the reality of you being gone to sink in.
We miss you every day.
You come up in conversation often and we tell stories of you frequently.
Last weekend when we were camping, we ate Tin Foil Dinners. Mom talked about how you and Grandma used to make them on your grill and you loved them.
Matt and I think of you every time we eat Soy Sauce.
Dad and I were talking about our trip to Pipestone and I remembered you coming along and freezing with us.
I ride your bike often when Mom and I go on rides. I like looking in the mirror you installed, and knowing you peddled the same bike many, many miles.
Grandma misses you a lot too. We’re taking good care of her.
I find great comfort in knowing that this isn’t the real end. I can’t wait to see you again and play some Hand and Foot.
It seems so far away, and yet I know that like this last year, time passes fast and our reunion isn’t all that far away.
One gift you’ve given me, particularly in this last year since you died, is a mindset that is focused on living with purpose. Living intentionally. I didn’t always do a very good job of that before. But in this last year, I can feel myself changing. I attribute my awareness of living intentionally greatly to you.
Say hi to Grandma and Grandpa Hensel for me, and send some love down to us here, especially for Grandma Pettit.
We miss you.
See you soon, Grandpa. I love you.
xo, Laura Hepsaba Pinchen Hensel Radniecki
I am thinking of you Laura – it’s been 24 years since I lost my parents and many days it feels like yesterday. I still expect my Dad to walk around the corner and sometimes I still pick up my phone to call my Mom. The pain lessens and the memories become even sweeter. Yearly anniversaries are the hardest for some reason – but how fortunate you were to have such a special relationship with your Grandpa.
Laura Radniecki says
Thank you for the sweet comment, DeAnna.
I’m so sorry to hear you lost your parents; I didn’t know that. Thank goodness for memories to help you feel close to them, even decades later.
I agree – I will cherish the relationship my Grandpa and I had for the rest of my life. Not everyone gets that chance, to be friends with their grandparents! I am lucky I did.