I can hardly believe it’s been a year since brain cancer stole you from us. I hope heaven is just as fantastic as you always dreamed it would be. I’m sure you’re spending your days playing continuous rounds of golf; the best you’ve ever played, I’m sure. Please say Hi to Great-grandma for me, if you could get her to pass on some of her magnificent cooking skills, I’d really appreciate it. There is a lack of coffee cake, home made noodles and chocolate pie down here these days. Make sure to tell everyone that we miss them but we’re doing good. Please let Theresa know that Ann and I are taking good care of each other down here in The Cities.
There’s a hole in the world since you’ve been gone, and I’m not sure anyone will ever fill it. Your character, work ethic and compassion were unlike anyone else’s I’ve ever met. Not many people retire, and then keep working. Very few dedicate their lives to volunteer service and the community the way you did with Rotary. And hardly anyone can see the absolute good in every person they meet and meet them with absolute care and compassion; not to mention remember them completely when you run into them a year later. I’m not sure many people can travel the world the way you and grandma did and run into someone they know in every single country; and if you didn’t know anyone you always made a new friend.
I will forever miss you waking up to brush all the snow off my car no matter how early I had to be at school or how cold it was. I miss all of your random facts and always having your almanac close by just in case. I’m positive I got my ability to sleep anywhere from you, and I thank you for that, it’s a nice skill to have around. I will never forget going to all the Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling meets with you and hanging out on the golf course; even if I spent the whole time playing my gameboy in the cart. I’m so glad that I got chosen to be a Junior Rotarian the year you were Rotary president, it was perfect.
My favorite memory, which I will certainly not forget is the day we moved you and grandma into your new house which had a dance floor in the basement. Dad and I were playing a game of pool and when you came down you decided that the song playing on the radio was the perfect song to teach me how to dance. So we took to the dance floor where you proceed to count “1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4″ in my ear while I tried my hardest not to step on your feet; which I certainly did many times. I was so worried about being good that I almost forgot to take note of how pivotal this moment was for us. I couldn’t have had a better dance teacher, you and grandma were the best dancers the world has ever known, hands down. Thankfully someone was around to snap a picture of this moment which would soon become my favorite Papa/Jenn moment.
So many things happened this year I wish I could have shared with you. I graduated from college, moved into a new apartment with my awesome new roommate, got a great job in the graphic design industry, went on vacation to Colorado and haven’t asked mom and dad for money is quite some time. ;) I hope that I have made you proud and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to see you again one day.
All my love,
P.S. if they’re taking bets on who’s going to win the next round of golf, You or Mel, my money is always on you.