Today's your birthday and you're on my mind as you are every year. I miss you. I think often about the things you taught me and the mannerisms you had that made you you. Of course, I'll always associate you with the jelly beans you kept on your dresser and the memories of you when I hear certain hymns are almost overwhelming. Today I find myself recalling the way you had a coconut cake each year and your sense of humor. That smartass streak you had, not that I would ever have called it that in your presence, seems to have been passed down to several of us and I know I find strength in that humor so often. I keep thinking of stories that Mom, Francie and Edna handed down to me--tales of how you would sit with me for hours, holding me when I was a baby, the way you punched Zeno Boyer for popping Keith's balloon and making him cry, how you used to chase Grandma through the house and catch her and tickle her until your kids pounced on you both...
Sometimes, lately, I think about the direction my life has taken, the things that make me so happy now that others find fault with and wonder how you would have reacted. I try to weigh the man you were as a minister with all those ideas about sin with the memories I have of you opening your home to me and Mom when she was ending her marriage to Doc or how you spoke out when she left Kevin, encouraging her to pursue happiness over stability. I think, honestly, that you shared that attitude with Grandma that being a family and supporting each other was the most important thing and that you would have found a way to still love me and be happy for me.
There are so many things I wish I had asked you, so many moments I would like to return to. You taught me what strength really was and that being strong didn't mean that you couldn't cry when a song touched you or that you couldn't laugh and be silly as an adult. I love you so much for all you were in your life and all that you gave me to carry on in my own life. You and Grandma are always, always with me.
With a heart full of love,