Can it really be 5 years ago that we celebrated your 75th birthday? Your kids took you to Charlestown - remember my dad won all that money? And a bunch of your grandkids and three great-grandkids went to the mall and got a portrait taken for you. We could barely stop laughing long enough to get the perfect shot.
I miss you so much. You may be out of sight, but never out of mind. Actually, you are not out of sight either. I keep a picture of you on the visor of my car. I talk to the kids about you all the time. I tell them stories of how I used to have sleepovers with you and how one of my favorite places of all times was your house on Deer Park Road. I remember your kitchen most of all - I used to love washing dishes with you. (I still have the phone number memorized - 922-9118). I tell Alex how when Pop and his brothers were bad you were known to pull an ear or two to get them to behave...he thinks that is hysterical. I tell them that I wish you were here to come to all of our parties because you loved to be around people. And I know you would get so into helping me plan. Remember the little cheesecakes that looked like black-eyed Susans we made for Nicki's wedding shower? And then there was my wedding. You helped me make the details so perfect - the ribbons on the favor boxes, the chocolate truffles, my bouquet. There are so many times I say, "I wish grandma was here to help." (You would be so proud of your daughters - you should see the capes they made for Alex and his friends for his 4th birthday). I tell Alex that you were the one who bought his baby book and found the undershirts with the snaps for him to wear until his belly button healed. I remember the night before I had him, I was talking to you the phone and I was complaining about being so big and pregnant, and you said to me, "Love. Babies come when they come." And I tell him that you called him Prince Alexander and that you named Luke (Cool Hand Luke). I wonder everyday what your nickname for Isabella would be? I can only imagine what you would think of my little wild woman...
I tell them that you are our angel and that you can see us from heaven. This morning we were talking about how today is your birthday and Alex said, "I am glad you have that picture of Grandma John because when I get to heaven I will know what she looks like. I am going to heaven when I get old and wear glasses, because old people wear glasses. Except for Gabrielle, she wears glasses but she is a teenager." And last night when we were saying our prayers he said his usual prayer and then at the end he added, "Hey, Grandma John. Mom loves you and she talks about you A LOT." Then he said, "Are you sure she can hear me?"
Yes. I. Am. Sure.
I love you,
When I get where I'm going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.
I'm gonna walk with my grandma,
and she'll match me step for step,
and I'll tell her how I missed her,
every minute since she left.
Then I'll hug her neck.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
there'll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I'll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
Don't cry for me down here.