I wanted to write you to say goodbye as I can't be there and I know how hard it is for you to talk on the phone right now. As I contemplate what I'll write, I walk myself through a lot of memories.
I remember playing you in HORSE on the miniature plastic basketball goal at my parents' house. I remember your praise when I won the "jackpot" on your slot machine as well as your endless supply of nickels to keep the thing running. I remember how you told us cousins to keep it down in the basement. I remember rolling down the backyard hill at your old house. I remember the generous gifts you and Grandma showered on us at birthdays and Xmas, no matter the cost. I remember the time you scolded Devin and me for picking a bunch of flowers out of your yard in an ill-fated attempt to make a perfume for April. I remember how you took care of Colin when he got poison ivy all over his legs, covering him in calamine with your bare hands. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to sounds of a train and asking Grandma if you were working on it. I remember interviewing you about your childhood for a school paper on the Great Depression. I remember creaking floors, a dishwasher running, and orange rolls early in the morning. I remember sitting on your couch covered in blankets and struggling to stay awake even though you were watching golf. I remember how you always had snacks waiting for us and how you started making me macaroni and cheese at every family gathering once I stopped eating meat. I remember you slipping me rolls of quarters to do laundry in college. I remember always having at least five options for dessert, be it pudding, ice cream, or pies, after every meal. I remember never leaving your house without a cold pop to drink on the way home. I remember your laughter when you opened an Xmas gift from my family, a pair of shoes, one shoe at a time. I remember seeing your face in the crowd at basketball games, piano recitals, swim meets, and graduations. I remember calling you every other weekend after I moved to San Francisco and begging you to come visit. More than anything, I remember simply your quiet, stern, selfless presence in our lives growing up, and I'm not sure what life will be like without it.
Reading through these memories will, I hope, bring a smile to your face, and that is how I'd like to bid you farewell. I love you!
P.S. Sorry for my handwriting; I know you always said it was horrible.