My great aunt Claire passed away early last week. She was the last living member of her generation on my mom's side of the family.
I miss my grandparents a lot, and think of them often - maybe more so now that I wish they were here to see K. Deaths like these in my family remind me of how long they've been gone. My grandparents passed away before I graduated college. My mom's parents didn't even live to see any one of my cousins or me get married. I always look at other people's wedding and baby photos, and I envy that their grandparents are alive to be a part of these wonderful occasions.
I wish K had some of the same experiences I had growing up with my grandparents, like going to the Jersey shore. My Pop-Pop would take me into the ocean - past the waves. It's here where I became a strong swimmer. My Mom-Mom and I would collect shells. I still have a glass jar full of them on my dresser.
At their house, my Mom-Mom and I would play the piano together. Last year, when the iPad mini came out, this commercial made me tear up every time because my Mom-Mom and I would play Heart & Soul together. My Pop-Pop would play the clarinet. Or he would turn on some music, and we would dance together in the living room - my feet on his, because I was too small and uncoordinated to keep up.
I remember always cutting through the dining room on the way to and from their kitchen, most likely to fetch someone a beer from the fridge, just so I could steal one of the Andes mints that Mom-Mom kept out for Pop-Pop. I swear, I ate hundreds of those things as a child.
Playing in my grandparents' basement with my cousins. Making pasta. Watching Phillies and Eagles games in the living room. Going for walks around the neighborhood, my Pop-Pop with his golf club in hand. Listening to stories about the Coast Guard, Sinbad, and the War. K will never get to make these same memories with them.
She'll make new ones with her grandparents. Maybe she'll make some of the same ones, or similar ones. I don't know, but I look forward to that. I look forward to reliving some of those moments with her and with my parents and Joey's. And while she's running around on the beach with her grandparents, I'll think of the times I had with mine - and hope that, wherever they are, they're watching.