A letter to you.

It’s been awhile.

8 years to be exact.

It never gets easier.

We just get stronger.

I could say that we miss you, but that would be an understatement.

It’s not the same without you.

I know everyone says that, but it’s true.

Our huge family gatherings on holidays, don’t exist anymore.

Maybe that would have been the case if you were still here.

Maybe with age, they would have just faded.

But I believe you were the glue that held everyone together.

You spent the later half of the evenings asleep in your chair, but you were still the rock for our family.

You always made sure I ate all of the food on my plate.

Always made sure I gave you a hug when I got to your house, and when I left.

And never put up with anyone’s crap.

You always told it like it was.

But were so sweet and kind.

Everyone who met you loved you.

You were “pops” and everyone knew it.

Constantly making people laugh.

You were such a presence.

I see so much of you in my dad.

And of my dad in me.

Thank you for that.

I wish I was able to know you longer.

I’m still so thankful for those 20 years, but it should have been more.

I would have asked you questions.

I would have asked to hear stories.

I would have asked for advice.

So much I wish I could have done.

It makes me thankful that I had those years.

That I have the memories of your suspenders and flannel shirts.

Of you in a Santa hat handing out presents to all of your grandchildren on Christmas.

The smell of burnt coffee and the image of you at the kitchen table.

I’ll always cherish those.

I just wish you were still here.

And I know that in a sense, you are.

I know that no matter what I go through in life, you’re right there.

So many things have happened.

I know you’d be so proud.

I graduated college, I know you would have just loved that.

I got married.

God I wish you could have met Jason.

Everyone loves him.

You’d probably think that no one was good enough for me.

Because you were protective like that.

I just know you two would have gotten along so well.

And I have a son.

He has your name in his.

Ian Kenneth.

And every time he’s trying to jump off of a couch or push my limits and I call him by his full name, I think of you.

You would have gotten a kick out of him.

He’s the most stubborn, loving, and free spirited kid you’ll ever meet.

Just like you.

Dad’s the head coach at McKay now too. We all coach with him.

Me, Janelle, and my husband Jason.

We’ve created such a family and such a great program.

I know you’d love that.

You were always so impressed with our running.

Telling us we got it from you.

That you held records back in Ohio, that you ran on a dirt track.

Thank you for that.

Thank you for telling us to “run like the wind.”

I got a tattoo of that, right on my foot.

Every time I laced up my shoes for a race I would see it and smile.

I know you’d absolutely disapprove of the tattoo and probably threaten to scrub it off.

But in the end you wouldn’t, because you usually let me get away with stuff.

I don’t really know why I’m writing this.

It’s not like I can share it with you, or show you.

But I like to think you’re watching.

Losing you definitely made me question some things.

Like why the good ones have to go.

It still doesn’t make sense.

But if I believe that you’re up there watching over us all.

It makes it a little easier.

I hope I’m making you proud.

I know you’re checking in on us.

After drinking a few cups of coffee and reading the newspaper.

You’re here.

I know you wouldn’t miss a thing.

Especially with your family.

You loved us all so much.

And we loved you.

After eight years it definitely doesn’t get easier.

I just look at your picture and know you’re still watching.

Smiling and looking over us all.

I hope you remember we never stop thinking about you.

And I hope you never stop thinking about us.

❀

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