Just those four words freeze up my muscles; rest in peace Poppy. I don’t even really know what to say to you. The past few months I’ve always wanted to write you a letter and read it to you so you know how much you mean to me, but I was always so scared for some reason. Now, a day after you have passed away, I wish I had the courage to hold your hand and read something like this to you. But, let’s be real, you would’ve fallen asleep anyhow so I guess it’s better for you to read it while up above so your full attention is on me!
I never thought this day would actually come. From the minute I was born, I was blessed with an incredible family who loved and cared for me more than anyone else. I was especially blessed with a grandfather who I was lucky enough to be so close with. That grandfather was you. Between all the rides to pre-school where you sang “hi ho, hi ho, off to school we go”, to when you taught me how to color in the lines, to you being the only family member who would sit through all the episodes of Barney with me, you were always my number one.
As I grew older, you loved to take Jaci and I to the movies, McDonald’s play land, Disney World, and every morning in the summer to Nick’s Center Spa. A few years ago this all had to stop because you became sick. But, from then on you were able to give me the best wisdom in the world. Things like, “don’t go outside without a jacket or you’ll catch pneumonia” or “those Yankees know what they are doing” will never ever leave me. The past six months have been even harder. I saw you suffer more than I ever had and it always scared me. But, as soon as you came out of that coma, that took your body for way too long, you were already yelling for MeMe’s sauce, telling all the male doctors that Jaci and I were out of their league, and begging for more crossword books. You were the strongest, (and thickest), Italian I know.
If there’s one thing I have learned from you, it’s to never give up on something that you want. You had such a will to live. Nobody believed us when you came out of that coma. Because you were so talkative and full of life, they thought we were exaggerating that you were in that wicked coma to begin with! You never gave up on us. You stayed so strong even though your body went through hell. I promise you, God has so many good plans for you above. I remember walking into ICU 6 months ago and thinking “this is it. I’m never going to be able to talk to my Poppy again, tell him I love him, or share my silly stories”. Little did I know I was so terribly mistaken.
MeMe prayed and prayed that St. Jude would bring you back to us one last time. All she wanted was to have you talk to all of us and for some weird reason she wanted to see you eat. Well, be careful what you wish for! You came back with flying colors. I didn’t just get to talk with you, I got to laugh with you. I told you I loved you, day after day and I shared all my silly stories, even when you kept saying “WHAT DID YOU SAY?” and I would have to raise my voice louder and louder. You also ate everything from seafood to fried dough. Fried dough was your last meal-lucky guy you are!
Thank you Poppy for holding on so long and filling these past few months with so many memories with you. I wish I could just run back to your arms one last time and just give you such a big hug. I know you were so afraid to pass away alone so I am so happy MeMe and mommy were holding your hands as you peacefully closed your eyes and took your last breath. Daddy wishes he was there more than anything, he loves you so much Poppy. I always told you that you were the best grandpa, but I underestimated it. You were the absolute best grandfather in the world and I could never thank you enough. You are in such a better place now, I know God is taking good care of you. I’m sure he welcomed you with a cold beer of whatever he had on draft, a plate of fresh calamari, front row seats to the next wrestling match, and a Yankee’s jersey.
Please give everyone above a hug for me. Promise me that you’ll go find Conner’s mother, Kelly, and give her the warmest embrace for me. Don’t forget to ask her to make you some eggs. She always had a knack for a good breakfast. Promise me you’ll go find Frisco and ask him “who’s a good boy?!” while patting his stomach. Promise me you will go find MeMe’s mom and dad and introduce yourself as the handsome Italian their daughter was lucky enough to marry. I know you’re safe up there, but send down a few signs to all of us so we truly know. Oh, and one more thing, promise me you will always look down upon us and protect us. Protect Daddy every night at work, protect Jaci through her last few months as a high school student, protect MeMe from getting herself in trouble, and protect mommy from getting too stressed out.
You will never ever be forgotten, and I will think of you all the time. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have been so close to their grandpa. Not many people get to say that. You raised me Poppy and I think you did a pretty good job. I have so much of you in me, especially the Italian taste for delicious food.
I love you so much Poppy, rest in peace <3
Love, always and forever,
your babe <3
Wake: Wednesday March 6, 2013 5pm-8pm The West Haven Funeral Home
Mass: Thursday March 7, 2013 10am St. Lawrence Church, West Haven