Dear Grandpa,

Sixty years ago, you got married. Eleven years ago, we celebrated your 49th anniversary because we knew Grandma (despite your best efforts) was not going to see the 50th. One year ago, we spent the evening celebrating a variety of things and you were happy and healthy. Today there was a cross next to your name in the bulletin and some other family moved into your house.

They’re nice. It kills me to admit it, but they are. You’d probably like their little girl. Now, at least. Probably not ten years ago. Also, they want a babysitter, and you neglected to stash a couple hundred grand in a Cayman Islands account that would cover my tuition, so that’s a good thing.
I’ve already done the whole “look how far we’ve come post”, and I won’t do it again. But I really can’t believe how much this has impacted us, and when I think that a year ago it didn’t exist? It’s been…unbelievable.

But you know what? I’m glad it happened. Not you dying. Because even though yes, you’re happier; yes, the economic crash would have probably killed you anyway; and yeah, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have handled that whole cancer thing well, I still refuse to say that it’s a better thing that you’re gone. That just plain sucks.

And do not for a second think that I enjoyed this, or felt like, oh, I’m glad we have a project. (See above link.)

But it taught me a lot. Things that I never anticipated happening happened. My family changed. I found out who my friends were. I found out that it takes a special kind of friend to stick their head into a wet oil-painted cabinet because you need help and then ask, “Okay. How obnoxious do you want me to be?” I found out that I’m really glad I have those friends. I’ve gotten into screaming fights with my immediate family over that house, but I also spent time with my family that I wouldn’t take back.
I think you would have been proud of us. All three kids maintained fantastic GPAs during this whole thing, if I do say so myself. Daddy worked as hard as he did when Grandma was dying, never once saying, “Hey, not my family.” Mommy worked harder than anyone, and through the worst circumstances imaginable. I whined. But not a lot.

Mostly I’m glad we could do it for you. It would have killed you (I really need to stop saying that.) to have lost the house, and it would have been lost. Hopefully it will stay in the family. I mean, at some point I’ll be employable, right? (It would have helped if you had passed along some of your engineering acumen, though.) Hopefully someday your great-grandchildren will grow up there.

So, Grandpa. It sucked. But I’m glad you didn’t have to do it, and I’m glad we could do it for you.

It’s been an honor.

P.S. Okay. We got a little bit of paint on your hat. I’m sorry. It’s only because we couldn’t bear to take it down.

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