I’m really going to miss you, which I know is a common feeling shared by all your loved ones. But I want to say that I’m glad I had so many years to get to know you and enjoy having you for my grandpa.
I was thinking about all the time I spent with you growing up, and I feel really lucky, because a lot of it was just me and you. With 64 cousins all competing for your attention, it’s almost hard to believe there was ever time for just the two of us! Of course, there were also tons of times when a bunch of us were together, playing and having fun. We were ALL “Papa’s spoiled brats,” and we loved every second of it.
Some of the memories I’ll always treasure include:
- you telling us stories around the campfire and ending with, “…and thaaat’s the eeeend of the stoooory!”
- bringing us to McDonald’s and making crazy noises as we drove around the corner leading up to the parking lot
- waking up at 6:00 a.m. to pick thimbleberries and then going out for breakfast afterwards
- going with you to church on Sundays and getting candy from the store, which we couldn’t eat until “after the second song”
- spending time at your farm, taking the “Jolly Roger” out on the pond, picking off leeches, catching frogs, going berry-picking
- traveling to Finland with you and Gram, not speaking any Finnish, but listening in from the back seat and piping up, “What does, ‘Oh, neenker!’ mean?”
- going on a trip to Minnesota with you and being such a chatterbox that you told me I had to “be quiet for five minutes” so you could listen to the news, and that was too long for me to wait
- visiting you in South Padre, Texas, and you jumping on stage with some musicians to sing your own songs
- watching you stop the car to pick up random junk on side the road—hats, gloves, shirts, etc., and Gram saying, “Oh, Peter!”
- you telling me, “Just don’t think you know everything!” so many times, that I talked about that in my high school graduation speech
- getting older and learning to know you as an adult, visiting at your house, listening to you reminisce about the old days, and realizing what a lucky girl I am to have a grandpa like you
It’s still hard to believe you’re gone, but I’m so thankful you were part of my life for so long. Good-bye, Papa. I love you.
* Note: I was in Alaska when I got the call that my grandpa had passed away. Exact cause of death was unknown at the time and last I heard, they determined that it was heart failure. He was in the hospital at the time, recovering from heart surgery, which went well at first, but something apparently went wrong later on. I flew home for the visitation and funeral, and stayed for a week, before flying back to my job in Alaska. It was hard being home—such a sad time—but good to be there, at the same time. I got to spend time with my grandma, and parents, all my brothers and sisters, and lots of my cousins, aunts, and uncles, too. I went through some really old photo albums and almost every picture with my grandpa in it also had one or a few of his loved ones as well, true testament to the fact that he impacted a lot of lives while on this earth… Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers, as we get through this hard time.
If anyone has a memory of my grandpa that they’d like to share, my grandma is keeping his website up, and open for comments here: http://petetorolashomelesspage.blogspot.com/2010/06/memories-of-peter.html
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