Letters to PawPaw

On Christmas morning all the daughters and their families are going to JoJo’s. Just like every year we will follow a few traditions. We’ll gather in a circle to read the story of Jesus’ birth.  The kids all know they can’t open presents until we read the story and pray.  Funny how every year they want to read the story faster than the year before.
Aunt Lisa’s presents will be wrapped so beautifully they will look like a Macy’s ad.  Aunt Amy will want to stay as tidy and organized as possible.  She has the wrapping paper in a trash bag faster than you can say “Jingle Bells.”  The kids will immediately want every gift opened and put together.  Everyone will spend the next 10 minutes unwrapping all those plastic thingamajigs attaching the toys to the box.  The adults will eat too much and wish they hadn’t.

But this year we are starting a new tradition. This year we are all writing a letter or drawing a picture for PawPaw. We are attaching them to balloons and will go outside to release them to “heaven”.

Since neither one of you can write yet, I went ahead and wrote yours this year.

Dear PawPaw,

I still recognize you in photographs. I point to your face and say, “PawPaw”.  Sometimes I look towards the door and ask where you are. Mommy says you went up to heaven. I don’t know what this means, so I just point up to the ceiling.

Mommy says if you were around we would be getting into a whole heap of trouble together. She says you’d put something on my head, like a handkerchief or a pot. And you’d be teaching me all sorts of silly phrases you were famous for, like “Butter my butt and call me a biscuit.”

I’m such a big girl now PawPaw. I can run, jump and dance. Mommy says I talk nonstop and I’m smart as a whip. I am sleeping in a toddler bed and go on the potty.  Every once in a while I think it’s funny to pee on the floor, right next to the potty.  Mommy and Daddy don’t think it’s very funny, but I know you would laugh.

My daddy loves to brush my hair. I sit on his lap and he brushes it for a long time. It’s one of the rare times I sit still and quiet. Mommy says you used to love brushing her hair when she was little. If you were here, I’d climb up in your lap and let you brush my hair forever.

I love you PawPaw,



Dear PawPaw,

Well, we’ve never really met. You heard my heartbeat the day before you died.  It was a real emotional event.  Even the ultrasound technician cried.  Mommy says you saw ultrasound pictures of me too.  Listen PawPaw, those pictures are nice, but they didn’t do justice. My cheeks are waaay chubbier in person.

My mommy says I came at just the right time. She says our family needed something to look forward to. She says I was like a ray of sunlight shooting straight through the grey skies.

Sometimes at nap time or bedtime, mommy rocks me. She tells me stories about you. She tells me we would have been buddies. Sometimes she cries when she looks at my big brown eyes.

Even though we’ve never met, mommy says I’m already a lot like you. I’m relaxed and content most of the time. Unless I’m hungry, then I’m sort of a bear.

I love to laugh. My smile is the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen. My cheeks push my eyes closed and they nearly disappear.  Mommy says I’m like you because I make people laugh.

She prays over me and asks God to make me like you. When I grow up she wants to see glimpses of you in me. A loving, gentle man. A hard worker with a great sense of humor. She says if I grow up to be like you, everyone will like me. Because everybody liked you.

Your grandson,


3 thoughts on “Letters to PawPaw

  1. Every time I read what you wrote…. I bawl my eyes out. I cry for you because I know how much your dad filled your family’s home with such love and joy. He was just so constant. Then I cry for me and seeing my dad declining and slowly fading from his disease…. And I wonder if I’m doing enough to savor him and all he is to me and my family. I love how you pour it all out in your writings. It’s helping me. Thank you


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