Two grand-babies have been born, without the chance to be bounced on his knee. Another grand-baby on the way, my sweet niece, and she too will not hear his booming laugh or be tickled by his mustache as he deposits kisses on her sweet cheeks.
This is the part of parenting you don’t think about when you first get that positive result: when you, the parent, have lost a parent, now your children have lost a grandparent as well.
Although we didn’t know we were expecting when my dad passed away, one of my earliest grief-filled thoughts was the knowledge that my children would only ever know him through me. There would be no serious faced with twinkly eyes admonitions, no candy snuck behind my back to them, no dancing while standing on his feet. They won’t have a smell to associate with him, while every time I catch a whiff of cough drops and wisps of cigarette smoke mingling, I fight off tears.
And yet. As The Lion King so faithfully taught me all those years ago, he lives in me. My eyes twinkle just the same, and so they will know that look after all. My mom will continue to be the ultimate candy sneaker, and my sister will kiss them until her lips fall off. They will know love, the love we have in our hearts for them. Although it may not always feel like enough, it really is. They are my family, my children’s family, and they will know their missing grandpa through them.
We are his legacy. Our children will carry on the legacy as well.
Happy birthday, Dad. We miss you so.