The sandwiches are packed, car is loaded and we’re ready to go. When I was born, my grandpa would take me to a secluded park every weekend around his neighborhood. He would sit with me for hours, rocking me side to side and eventually when I started walking he would teach me to throw bread to the ducks and we would laugh as they all chased after the pieces. My grandpa has influenced me the most in my life and although he is in heaven now, I know he is my guardian angel leading me in the right direction, the way dancing sweeps me off my feet and gives me the strength I never knew I had.
There are people in this world who make you feel protected from the scary things in life. I for one can say my grandpa was and forever will be that person. When the spotlight shines on me during a dance performance, the audience fades to a blur and all I see is my grandpa’s smiling face. His soft voice always made me feel better; he always knew the right words to say. I would always call him when I had a problem or a question, and he would always provide me with the perfect answer or best advice. He was one in a million and always looked at the positive side to everything.
My grandpa never gave up on anything and was always a fighter. He battled years of cancer and continued the war against it. Even when I knew he was at the weakest point in his life, he never showed it nor once complained. He taught me to be strong in life, and go after my dreams. He was always proud of me and encouraged me in everything I did. Never once did he miss a dance recital, soccer game, or any special occasion. When it involved family, he was there in a heartbeat.
I can remember every moment with my grandpa and I’m not afraid to admit I still shed a tear once in a while. I always enjoyed the stories he shared with me of when he was in the war, and all about my ancestors. I would always interrupt him and ask questions; he would get a little frustrated at me but he never yelled or got mad. I guess I can say I learned that from him too, it takes a lot for me to get mad or open my mouth towards anyone. I’m a quiet person, as was my grandpa. He influenced me to be a lot like him which makes me happy because I know he will always be in my heart.
One memory that will stay with me forever is the last dance I shared with my grandfather. We were at a family bar mitzvah and a slow song started playing. I walked over to the table where my family was sitting because it was awkward watching all the old fogies dance. My grandpa came over to me and tried to pull me out of the chair I was seated on, I shrugged a little because I felt shy and embarrassed. My mom then said “Meg go and dance with your grandpa!” She gave me “the face” so I had to listen to her, and, I’m really happy I did because that dance meant the world to me. As I look back on it now, I would have really regretted not dancing with him because it was something special I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.
The pictures we have and the memories we share are something I’ll always keep locked away forever. My grandpa was my hero; he always guided me in the right direction and told me right from wrong. His patience, caring words and strength are something I have picked up from him and I’m proud to call myself his only granddaughter. I keep the family strong and functioning for him to see that we are still doing well and happy. I still light a candle for him every birthday and stare at pictures, wishing he was hugging me again. He will never be forgotten and his last words to me of “I love you” will always have a special place in my heart.