Well, here we are, six months later. The grief that I still feel is still incredibly painful. I can’t even go back and read my blog posts about the subject or else I’ll freak out and start sobbing.
I wanted to talk about the phrase, “I love you more,” which you may or may not have seen me or a family member say when paying tribute my grandfather. When I think about Grandpa, that’s the first thing that pops into my mind. For as long as I can remember, Grandpa played the “I love you more” game with us. Whether it was as we were leaving his house or hanging up the phone or just sitting at the table after dinner, if you said “I love you” to Grandpa, he was going to respond, “No, I love YOU more” and never let you have the last word. He’d go, “Impossible!” over and over again – and sometimes not even in English, lol. He did this with all of us.
Towards the end, Grandpa was in a lot of pain, so phone calls with him were always very short. I called almost daily to check in and loved the 45 seconds I’d get to talk each morning. I knew after we got our second round of bad news last December 13 that our time was limited, so I would call as much as I could, even if he could only stand to be on the phone for ten seconds. On this particular day in the very end of May 2013, I called him in the late afternoon instead of the morning. He was tired and in pain, so we only spoke for a minute.
“I love you,” he said as we were saying good bye.
“I love you more,” I responded.
“No, sweetheart,” he countered. “I love YOU more.”
“No, Grandpa, I love you more!”
“Grandpa, will you just let me win this one time?” I asked.
“No,” he said, sounding as though he was slightly bothered that I would even ask the question.
“Okay, Grandpa, you can have it this time, but next time, I get to love you more.”
Well, the next time I said “I love you more” to my grandfather, it was a week-and-a-half later and he was in the hospital for the final time. Mom told my sisters and I to each take a moment by ourselves with him to say anything we wanted to say to him one last time. My mom and Grandma waited quietly in the corner of the room while we took turns sitting with him bedside. I said what I wanted to say – which to be honest, I don’t even remember any more – and got up to leave the room to let someone else take their turn. As I was about to leave, I said, “I love you more.”
I got the last word that time, but I wish that we had one hundred more chances to battle over who loved who more.
I miss you so much, Grandpa. I love you more.