Jan 11 will always hold a special place in our hearts as it is the birthday of an amazing man – my children’s grandfather, my husband’s father and my father in law. “Poppa” or Pop, as everyone called him lost his battle with cancer on July 25th more than 10 years ago, but because it was such a loss to our family we choose to celebrate his birthday rather than the day we lost him.
Poppa was such a special man and taught me so many things, but particularly about raising a good and caring family. Yep, I have my own father whom I lost in November of 2016 and who I loved with all my heart but, I was married at 20 so I spent more years with Poppa than I did with my own dad. After my husband (who is a born and raised Canuck) and I got married, we moved to Canada from the US and have been here ever since. We spent the first 20 years of our marriage making yearly visits to my dad in the Mile-High city of Denver and then when our children got older and we could afford more, we increased the visits to the states to 2 or 3 times per year until we lost my father.
So, I had 20 years with the privilege of having poppa in my life. Pop was one of the major influences over me throughout the 20 years I knew him. One of the biggest things he taught me was how to love unconditionally. When people let you down, when people disappoint you, when things don’t go your way, when people make mistakes, everyone is worthy of forgiveness and when you commit to loving someone, you do it, unconditionally. Obviously, I know there are circumstances where you must let go of people for your emotional health, for their good, for whatever reason and I do not judge when that happens and yes, I have had to do it at times but for the most part I try to live my life with the knowledge and acceptance that people aren’t perfect. We all make mistakes but hopefully we learn from them and adjust our actions and behaviors accordingly so we don’t make the mistakes again and again.
Poppa (and now, my husband) has taught me that you do things for people not for the gratitude and accolades, but because you WANT to do it. This lesson alone, has saved me from a world of hurt and disappointment. I am happy to say that all the things poppa taught me and lucky for us, my husband continues to live with these values instilled in him. Poppa raised a great man and his father would be so proud of the man he has become. I can’t be happier to have him by my side through this journey of life. We will continue to instill all the good things poppa taught us into our own family and hopefully we will leave this world or at least our own little family a little bit better and a little kinder and compassionate than they would be without these values that their grandfather gave to us all.