Pepa, or Peeps. Its what I’ve always known him as. He was my grandfather, but in many ways a friend. He was my Pepa and I was his Jennaf or Jennafer.
I always remember going to Mema and Pepas house – all the time since we lived so close. I would almost always find Pepa in his office surrounded by computer parts. Always fixing something for someone or upgrading something of his. For the longest time he was scanning and adding pictures to his “library”. Everything from baby pictures of everyone to newer pictures. Holiday’s, birthdays, weddings. You name it he had a picture of it!
Pepa wasn’t a man of too many words, but when he did speak he spoke with purpose and meaning, and it was always worth listening to. The best piece of advice that he ever gave to me was right before I left for basic training for the US Navy. He told me that I would hate it while I was there, but after it would be one of the best times of my life, and he was right. I thought about it every day that I was there. That I hated that place and how awful it was, but now I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. It has helped shape me into the person I am today and I will be grateful always for his advice.
As like most of my family Pepa was always up for some innapropriate humor. In particular fart jokes! He would make jokes after someone farted by saying stuff like “wooo! Did you see that Lucy” Asking the cat if she saw the “fart” run across the room. He always knew how to make you laugh, and his laugh was contagious. Some good advice that my cousin James gave to my Pepa though was: Never. Trust. A Fart.
I remember one particular day where I had come home early from school because I wasn’t feeling well after giving blood. I was laying on the couch and Pepa would come in and check on me every once in a while just to make sure I was doing okay.
I also remember riding with him and Mema to Aunt Joyce and Uncle Keiths one summer in New York. We were driving through Vermont and there was lots of rock ledges along this particular stretch of road. Well it just so happens that I ended up with the hiccups. I remember Pepa saying that I better hold my breath to get rid of my hiccups or the mountains would come crashing down on us! I believed him at the time being young, but you know what? After holding my breath my hiccups went away!
Pepa almost always had a camera on him. or at least within his reach. When we were all younger he had a camcorder as well. This has always made it challenging to get pictures of him! (However we did find some of him in his younger days) Still looked the same, just a little younger and less grey hair.
I will always remember Christmases at Mema and Pepa’s house. We went from a larger tree to a smaller and smaller tree until we hit a tabletop sized tree. Teenie tiny tree, TONS of presents. Considering my immediate family is about 20 people – yeah, a lot of presents! We always had good food and a great time, even if we were smashed into the small house.
I didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time with him the last couple years, and its definitely something that I wish I was able to do. I missed both him and Mema a lot being so far from home. I wish that I had called more frequently or done some skype calls with them. They know I love them, but I should have put forth some more effort. I would hear things from family, updates on Pepa’s condition. About June we started planning our trip back to Maine to visit as things seemed to be going down hill – even if they were slowly.
We were incredibly blessed to have seen him before he died. We had a nice surprise birthday party for my Mom who had no idea we would be there. I got to watch football – the Patriots lost! I’m very glad that I was able to spend that time with him. My mom says that he waited for me, that he waited to see me before he let go. It really wouldn’t surprise me, he was a family man through and through, and an incredible grandfather.
I will be forever thankful for the people who helped care for him and the dedication that my family has always shown to each other. He left us in a whisper, a brief breathe. No good bye no see you later. Just let go. I will forever miss my Peeps, but I know that he will never be far from my thoughts and will always be in my heart.
Its been just over 3 weeks since he died, and partially it hasn’t sunk in yet, but sometimes it will hit me right smack dab in the face. I am overcome with grief and all I can do is cry. I know he is in a better place, and it is an incredible comfort to know that where ever I am, he can watch over me from Heaven, and most of all – he can breathe with ease.