A Letter to the Grandfathers I Never Knew

Both of my grandfathers, and step-grandfather, left this earth before I was able to meet them. With the recent passing of my Grandma, on my Dad’s side, I’ve found myself often thinking about the things I wish I could’ve learned from each of them and the memories I wish that I could reflect on. This article is dedicated to them and anyone else who’s lost their grandparent(s) too soon.


If I had the opportunity to travel back in time to meet you, I would take it in a heartbeat. I can only imagine what it’d be like to sit across from you and listen to the drawl of your voice as you recount your life’s tales.

I’d sit on the couch with my legs curled under me, cradling the cup of tea you made just for me, as the smell of cookies lingers in the air from the batch that Grandma and I made the hour before.

I’d watch your eyes twinkle when you tell me about how you and Grandma met; a look that I’ve seen in my parents’ eyes and one that I can only wish I’ll have one day. Did you go on a date with her and instantly realize you couldn’t live a life without her? Or did she turn you down a few times before finally giving in to your charms?

I’d watch your eyes crinkle at the corners as you recall becoming a father and then a grandfather and my heart would swell with every word as you tell me about the first time you ever held me.

I’d laugh with every embarrassing story you tell about my parent while my imagination runs wild to put together the pieces of their childhood that you laid out for me.

I’d eagerly listen as you describe every city you’ve ever been to – it would be like reading a Hemingway novel – as I try to imagine what they looked, felt and smelled like when you inhabited them. The images would run through my mind in vivid colors, but even then they couldn’t compare to the ones running through yours.

I’d cherish every cup of tea you make me, every story you tell me, every laugh you’re the cause of, and every memory with you in it.


I wish that I could go back in time and create the memories with you that I was cheated out of. From the time you would’ve taught me how to cook your favorite food to the various times you would’ve made me laugh until I cried. Grandma would have sat next to you and silently shook her head in amusement at the two of us.

I wish that I could think about you and instantly remember what you sounded and smelled like – was your voice deep? breathy? gravelly? what cologne did you prefer? –  or what it felt like to be tucked in your arms whenever we said goodbye.

I wish that I could fill my head with the sound of your laughter whenever I miss you.  I get to do that with Grandma, so why don’t I get to do it with you?

I wish that I could tell Mom and Dad about the things you and Grandma let me get away with every time we spend time together. (They still can’t believe what we did the last time.)

I wish that I could look at a photograph of you and be able to remember what you looked like through my own eyes, not just through the lens of a camera.

I wish that I didn’t have to sit here writing this letter to you because I wish that I could simply knock on your door and talk to you instead.

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