Grandpa Ernie

Lisa - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on August 31, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Bright Eyes. My grandpa gave me and my three siters each a nickname and mine was Bright Eyes. Even being very little I realized how special that was, not because of the name itself, but because grandpa gave it to me. I still love it.

I was so close to him my whole life. He always made it a point to spend time with us doing whatever we wanted, even if it included dolls or My Little Ponies. He would take us to McDonalds usually twice a month for years. Come to find out he hated eating at McDonalds, but that’s the kind of grandpa he was, completely unselfish and forever loving. I lost him to cancer June 4, 2004. To this day I still can’t look a picture of him without crying. They are all in a box in my closet waiting for me when I’m ready. Just like he always did. He taught me a lot through out life but one of the most important lessons I didn’t learn until it was too late, until he was gone.

I believe that no matter what, I will always make it a point to make time for those who mean the most to me.

I did that with him too, until he got sick. I was too scared and it hurt too badly to accept reality. I couldn’t deal with the terminal diagnosis. I acted like it wasn’t happening and forced myself to live life normally. I distanced myself to the point where I hardly called and never visited. Not even when he was transferred to the Hospice program and had to live in the nursing home. If I saw his deteriorating health then it was real and I couldn’t handle that. Besides, Grandpa will be there when I’m ready, right? He always was.

One day after too many excuses not to visit, I felt an overwhelming need to see him. So I did and even though he was a little out of it, he was so happy to see his Bright Eyes. He died the next morning. I still don’t know how to forgive myself for not making the time to see him. That is one of my biggest regrets in life and one of my most painful mistakes.

So now I try my hardest to never let fear, a busy schedule, or anything else keep me from spending time with the ones I love most. My kids get extra hugs and kisses everyday and no matter what, I am never too busy to play or be silly with them, even if I have a million things to do. I try to always give my husband a kiss goodnight and I stay close with my family. Most importantly, I will never make that mistake again.