One stocking missing this Christmas

By Gina Peracchia
December 4, 2003

Tis the season for shopping, cookies, ornaments, friends, gifts, and most importantly, family. Many students on campus, excluding myself since I’m a commuter, have not seen their families since they were dropped off in late August. But now is the time to go home and see old friends and perform the Christmas traditions you’ve been doing since you were born.

I know for myself, Christmas will be filled with the chatter of my parents, my brother wanting to know when we can go home, my cousins and I with our significant others looking bored, but secretly appreciating this family we have, and the feeling that someone is not physically there with us: my grandpop.

This past summer, in July, my grandpop on my dad’s side passed away from a stroke. It was very sudden and something I didn’t know how to handle. I’ve been fortunate enough to have all four of my grandparents see me grow up and be at both my grade school and high school graduations. This is something not many children are able to have, and I was lucky enough to be the small group of children who did. Unfortunately, he was my first grandparent to pass away, and now this will be my first Christmas without him.

If you knew my grandfather, you would know that he was the most spirited, caring, positive, and fun-loving person on this earth. The care and love he had for his family and his many friends were genuine, and he was always so happy to see his grandchildren when we walked through the door. He treated us like gold. No, he treated everyone like gold.

One thing he always said as we would leave his and my grandmom’s house would be, “Have a good time.” This was said numerous times at his funeral, but it had to be. That was his trademark. It always seemed like he never had a care in the world. I knew no one like him.

I think while he was here, I didn’t appreciate him as much as I should have. Don’t get me wrong, I love him to death and always will, but I never really thought about how positive he saw the world or his family until he died. This is what I and everyone else in my family will miss the most about him this year. He was an integral part of our family. He was our smile, our laughter, our heart, our flower, and our gift.

Christmas will be very different this year. I’m sure my grandmom will be thinking about him the whole time, but she won’t be the only one. Something hilarious will happen, like every year, and all of us will be thinking, “I wish grandpop/pop-pop/dad was here to see this.” At the same time, we won’t see him, but he will be there. There’s no way he would miss a Christmas with his family.

I know he won’t be here with us physically this year, or in the years to come, but he is the greatest gift that each and every person in my family was blessed to have. And on Christmas, a seat will be open at the table, but he’ll be there with us in spirit, smiling and laughing at everything around him, knowing we’re all having a good time.

Love you much, grandpop!

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Gina Peracchia

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