This is a really hard post for me to write. My Grandpa, the strongest, happiest, sweetest person I knew, passed away unexpectedly early Saturday morning. I am sitting here writing this with tears streaming down my eyes, and I'm not really sure where to start. I've never experienced a loss like this before.
I loved my Grandpa so much. He was our rock. If I ever needed anything, he was the person I'd call. Except I never had to ask. He'd somehow know exactly what was stressing me out or causing my pain and would have already started helping me fix it.
He was the person in all of our lives who always made everything better. It could be the most stressful or tense of situations, and he'd crack a smile, make a joke, and have everyone laughing. The past couple of days have been so hard, and I just keep wishing he was here because I know if he was, he'd lighten the mood and make us laugh. He had the happiest, most full laugh and I'm going to miss the sound of it so much.
He was so giving. He always gave more than he could. He loved us all so much, and his happiness came from knowing that all of us were happy. He did everything he could to make our dreams come true. He sent me around the world multiple times because he knew I wanted to travel. He helped Austin pursue his acting career by paying for all of those trips up to New York for his auditions. And he sent Holly to Nicaragua to make pots with native, because he knew it was something she was passionate about.
He was always there. Every school play, every birthday party, every art show, every Christmas, every graduation. Every single major life event that ever happened to me, Holly, or Austin - he would go out of his way to be there for us. He would drive up and down 64 like it was his job, because he loved us that much and didn't want to miss a moment.
He cared. My Grandpa knew all of my friends by name, and would ask about them regularly. He always wanted to know how they were doing and what they were up to.
Literally everybody loved him. His smile and his laugh were everything. Whenever we'd go down to the beach to visit my Grandparents, everywhere we went someone knew him and would come say hello. We'd go into Food Lion and all the cashiers would wave and say "Hi Chuck!" Any restaurant we'd go to the staff would come over to ask how he was doing and catch up. He made friends with everyone.
He was tough as nails and always had a positive attitude. He was a marine and until the very end he rose with the sun. He'd have his bed made, breakfast on the table, and coffee ready before anyone else was even up. When he got diagnosed with cancer two years ago, that positive attitude never wavered. He never let it get him down, and always said he was going to kick cancer's butt.
He loved my Grandma fiercely. My Grandma + Grandpa were married for 62 years, and after all of that time their love was still so solid. More than solid. They were still very much in love. The way he looked at her said it all.
When we Grandma hurt herself, he worked so tirelessly to take for her even though he was sick himself. He told me that he promised God we would always take care of her, so that's what he was going to do. He died two weeks after we moved them into my parent's house. Two days after my Grandma went to her doctor's appointment and found out she was going to be ok. He knew she was safe, and he kept that promise.
I've never lost anyone I loved, and the past few days have really been a struggle for me. I got the news early Saturday morning, and immediately went to my parent's house. I sat with him, cried over him, and told him how much I loved him. David and I had a wedding to photograph a few hours later. I was an absolute wreck, but I knew my Grandpa would have wanted to me go photograph it - kick some ass - and do it with a smile on my face. So, I did. I did it for him, and I know he would have been proud.
Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to me and my family. It means more than you know. And if you're out there Grandpa, I miss you so much. I love you so much. Having you in my life made a world of difference. I promise I'll take care of Grandma. And every time I drink an ice cold Coors Light, it will always be for you.