It seems absolutely crazy to me that six years ago, cancer took my grandfather. Popi was a huge part of my life, and even now, the hole in our family is gaping. I think I was in denial throughout the entire time he was sick, up until the moment I woke up and he was gone. Even then, it took my brain and heart quite some time to catch up.
Grief is weird like that.
Six years later, I’m okay. We’re all okay. But sometimes that ache sneaks right up on me—especially during this time of year. Late at night, tucked in bed, I’m not an almost 28-year-old woman; I’m a little girl who misses her Popi.
I wonder what he’d think about everything going on in the world right now. I’m especially curious if he’d like Machete or how he would’ve looked in a suit at my wedding. My Popi loved those crazy explosive action movies. They’re the ones I usually roll my eyes at but every now and then, our interests would intersect. We could watch Mortal Kombat and The Crow together. Popi was a huge martial arts movies fan, too. Unfortunately, there haven’t really been any lately.
Popi also had a great sense of humor—and an even better laugh. It was a contagious kind of laugh; if he laughed, you couldn’t help but burst out laughing too. I can actually still hear his laugh without trying too hard.
Popi was also a musician. He could play anything on his guitar by ear. Way back in the day, he was actually in a band. I didn’t inherit that gene, but it’s totally his fault that I love music so much and write rockstar romance.
There are a million things I could say about my Popi and it still wouldn’t be enough to really give you an idea of who he was. He passed on his stubbornness, fiery passion, and goofiness to me. He also had a soft, tender side. The older I get, the more I see myself in him—which is kind of funny, considering when I was younger, I never quite understood him. He seemed so complicated to me, yet I still loved him to pieces.
He was one of my favorite people in the whole world.
I miss him so much. Eventually, when I can afford it, I really want to get hummingbird tattoos just under my collarbone. Popi loved to sit up at the lake and watch all the birds, but the “hummers” were his favorite. They move fast, and half the time I was never quick enough. But my Popi saw everything—even hawks and eagles soaring far above the car as he drove us to the lake.
I’m not religious, I don’t believe in any kind of god, and I have no idea whether there’s any such thing as heaven, but I really hope someday, somehow I see him again.