I am not writing you this letter because these are things I never had the chance to say to you when you were alive. Every word that touches this page you know. Every thought that is put on this paper you have heard. I am writing to you because these words need a place outside of me to rest; if they are kept in they will eat away at me…
Just a few short hours ago I was told news that I have been dreading for what feels like my entire life. I know that it is the natural cycle of life that one is born, they live, they grow old, and then they die, but the logic doesn’t make death any easier to deal with. I know you were ready to die, in fact, I know you have been ready to die for a very long time. You didn’t take any treatments that could have potentially prolonged your life because you knew they would have lessened the quality of it, and even with that decision you lived an astounding 84 years. You greeted death on your own terms, and knowing that you were ready makes this whole thing a little easier to bear.
But I’m not ready to say goodbye… In fact, I’ve never been less ready for anything in my life. You have been my hero, my mentor, the voice in the back of my head, and my best friend for my entire 26 years of life, and the fact that you won’t be there waiting at the computer when I call on Skype makes it hard to breathe. The fact that you won’t be waiting for me when I come home with a batch of your tuna salad, and a big package of fried up bacon for BLT’s doesn’t make sense to me. It can’t be real. But it is real, and you won’t be home, and I have to find a way to understand that.
You are the first person in my family to pass away. I’ve never had to deal with death on a personal level before. How does one begin to make sense of it. I know you did everything you could to prepare us all for this day, but can you ever really prepare for the loss of someone you loved so much? It’s hard for me to think of anything new to say to you here, because everything I could possibly say to you you already know. You know I idolized you, you know I held your opinion higher than anybody else’s, you know I loved you from the depths of my soul and beyond, and the fact that you know all of this, the fact that I have talked to you almost every day for the last 26 years of my life brings me so much comfort.
I can’t tell you anything new, but I can thank you for being the most wonderful man to ever walk this earth. You were so much more than a grandfather to me, and so much of my successes in life came to be because of you; because of your caring, your influence, your advice, and your knowledge. You are the smartest man I know. In fact, I don’t think there was anything in any subject that you didn’t know (at least that is how I will always remember you). Every time I go to construct even the simplest of sentences in English I constantly ask myself “now do I say she and I, or is it me and her, well whatever it is my Zayde will correct me anyways because he knows everything!” You were my hero… You are my hero.
Your house was a haven. Coming over was always a treat for me. It was always the place I could get away from all of the stresses in life and just relax. Not to mention I ate better at your house than anywhere else in the world. I could have lived off of your tuna salad and BLT’s, and you knew it. Anytime I would come home for a visit from college, or a visit from Israel, you would have a whole batch of each waiting for me. You made the simplest things, but they were always the best. They were the best because they were simple, and elegant, and precise. You put 100% into everything that you did, even something as trivial as chopping fruits or vegetables.
I am so overwhelmed with happiness that you were healthy and able to meet Stephane when we were in California. He loved you very much, and I know you loved him too. You two were kindred spirits, and I know how happy you were that I found someone as amazing as he is. I will keep you with me during every milestone we face together. From our engagement, to our wedding, to our children… You will be there for all of it. I will keep you with me in everything that I do. The fact that you aren’t here in the flesh won’t change the fact that I will continue to live my life in a way that will make you proud. I will continue to have amazing adventures, because I know how much you love my stories. The fact that you aren’t here in person won’t stop me from telling you every detail… I know you will be able to hear me.
I will miss you every second of every day. I will think about you every second of every day, wondering where you are and if you can see and hear me… Wondering if you are happy. Despite the uncertainty of what happens when you die, I have to believe that you will always be close by to me. But how can you not be close by since I will carry you in my heart for the rest of my life. I love you with every ounce of strength I possess, and for your sake I will try to be strong. I know that is what you want.
Thank you for the most incredible 26 years of my life. There isn’t one day that I won’t cherish each memory, each conversation, each piece of advice that I was lucky enough to get from you. You not only watched me grow, but you played a huge part in shaping the person that I am so proud to be today. I can say nothing more but thank you. Thank you for simply being you, because there is no one more special than you. This is not goodbye, Friend. This is I’ll see you one day soon
I love you forever,