Had I Known You

Vibrant. Social. Lively. Kind. That’s how everyone describes you. Had I known you I’m sure I would have agreed with them.

You weren’t all that tall, but you had a presence about you. You made yourself known when you walked into a room – not in a pompous, arrogant sort of way, but with the kind of quiet confidence I wish I had more of. The kind Dad has. The kind that I know assures Mom, and the kind I’m sure Grandma felt when she entered a room with you. Had I known you I’m sure I would have been able to grasp some of that admired confidence myself. I would have had two men to learn from rather than one.

Dad always tells me how much you would have loved your grandkids had you met us. I only wish you could see the four of us – Nikki, Rachel, Jason, and me. Nikki is being wonderfully independent and heading to Italy next month to study abroad. Rach has just finished her master’s degree. Jas is finishing up his last bout in the military – I know your daughter is beyond thrilled waiting for his arrival. And I am doing what I’ve always done – keeping myself busy, working full-time, and attempting to balance pursuing my master’s degree with having some semblance of a life. My hope is that we would make you proud. Make you smile, make you feel honored to be our grandfather. Had I known you I’m sure I would have been honored to be your granddaughter. I am honored to be your granddaughter.

Had you been around now I’m sure things would be different. Grandma wouldn’t be as lost, as distant, as lonely. I’m sure she misses your assurance, your quiet confidence. We all do. I’m sure Dad would love to hear you give him advice one more time. My parents may be a pain in my ass butt sometimes, but I will never outgrow their advice, their guidance, or their wisdom. Had you been around now I’m sure there would be less family bullshit drama. We are still as close knit as ever, but I’ve been told you were a kind of glue that would hold it – hold everyone – together. Had I known you I’m sure I would curse less, too.

Mom says Dad is just like you. From the beaming smile to the way he socializes to his discipline to how insanely he values the quality of hard work – I know Dad had to get those things from you. And getting to be Dad’s daughter is my own little way of knowing you. Or knowing some part of you, I guess. It makes me sad that I will never get the whole picture. That I will tote around thoughts that can only amount to wonderings and possibilities. I can only see you through Dad. Only know you through other people’s words, stories, and memories. Yet the saddest thought is my constant wondering of how different Grandma would be had you been here. I would like to think she’d be more engaged with us, with herself, with life. But that’s all I can do – I can wonder and wonder and wonder and yet, I’ll never know for sure. It’s disheartening. Had I known you I’m sure you would tell me what Dad always tells me and my what-ifs: Sam, you can’t focus on the what-ifs in life, all you can do is make your reality count. Make it better. Improve your life and yourself any way you can. I wish someone would tell Grandma that. Had you been here I’m sure you would be pushing her to be happier, to improve, to live.

Had I known you I’m sure I would be close to you. I’m extremely close to Mom’s parents – Papa and Grams are two of the most important people in my life. And they have set the best example of how to love another selflessly and endlessly. Had I known you I’m sure you would have set that example as well.

Vibrant. Social. Lively. Kind. That’s how everyone describes you. I’ve never met you, but I know I agree with them.

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