Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dear Papa

Hi friends.  It's been a week since we lost my Papa.  A week since my world changed forever.  A week since my heart broke into a million pieces.  But, I'm still hanging on.

In those moments, as my family gathered around his hospital bed, I wasn't able to say goodbye.  I didn't want to; and I'm still not able to.  We know he could hear us even though he couldn't talk back.  He was responsive enough to let us know that he was there listening to every world.  But how do say goodbye to one of the most important people in your life?  It seems so final.  I simply couldn't.  Instead, I choked out "I love you so much" in between sobs and that was it.  I wish I could have said more.

Now, I've had a week to pull myself together, to think and to reflect and I know what I wish I was able to say then but couldn't.  So here goes... 

"Dear Papa,

It's been a week since we lost you.  A week since everything changed.  It's been really hard, but we're doing ok.  We miss you more than you can possibly imagine.

Today's your 82nd birthday.  Happy Birthday!  I hope you played poker with your friend Chet today.  Eliot and I bought cakes at the store and I had a big piece of chocolate cake just for you.  I know how much you love chocolate!

I've thought of a million memories over the past week.  We had a lot of great ones.  I remember going to your camp, barbecues, going to the International Festival in Calais, fishing, boating, and swimming with our sneakers on because the lake was so rocky. There was the time when Lucas locked Kaitlin in the outhouse.  One summer we raked our own blueberries in your field and then Nana helped us make a blueberry pie with them.  One year we even had Thanksgiving at the camp because we knew how much it meant to you and Nana.  The entire family crammed into the little camp but it was really special.  Kaitlin and I came to visit you there one weekend so we could have a granddaughters weekend at the camp.  We've had a lot of good times at camp.

I remember your house in Orono and sitting in your 3 season porch watching for deer in the backyard.  I made some great mud pies there when you and Nana watched Jeremy and me.  You and Nana always let us kids curl up on your bed and watch movies.  I remember watching "Fievel's American Tail" and "Land Before Time" quite a few times.  Kaitlin and I used to play with the Barbie house you and Nana had in your guest room for hours.  All of us grandkids used to do skits there.  I know you always got a kick out of them.  Your house was like a second home to me.  I always felt so warm, safe and loved there.

Nana always said you and I were two of a kind.  I remember one time when the electricity went out and you and I both huddled under blankets to stay warm.  All you could see was our eyes sticking out from under the covers.  Nana also raved that all you and I ever thought about was food.  At breakfast we were already wondering what was for dinner.  (Although, with Nana's awesome cooking, who could really blame us?)  She said we were both "always thinking about our stomachs."  Not to mention, we can't eat in a dark room.  I think I drive Eliot crazy by turning the light on in the living room every time I want to eat something.  I can't help but smile and think of you.  I promise I'll make sure our little quirks live on.

Looking ahead to the future is probably what's the hardest right now.  We had so many things that were already planned.  Eliot and I were planning to visit you and Nana at the camp this summer.  I was looking forward to having you come visit us and we were going to go get Pier Fries at Old Orchard Beach.  We talked about having another big family reunion.  I was excited about coming home for the 4th of July.  Fourth of July isn't going to be the same without you.  You always got up early to get that same parking spot every year.  The one right in front of Grammie and Grampie's store.  Mom and Nana are already talking about getting up early this year so they can get your spot. We know you'll be there in spirit.  You loved the 4th of July in Bar Harbor so much.

The other holidays won't be the same either.  Our Thanksgiving circle is going to be a little smaller this year.  It's going to be hard but I know we'll get through it together.  I remember one year when we had you wear that ridiculous turkey hat Mom bought.  I'll make sure it makes an appearance at Thanksgiving this year, along with the photo of you in it.  Christmas is going to be really difficult.  It won't be the same when you're not there to open your stocking and presents with the rest of us.  I'm really going to miss the goofy smirk you had when you would slowly open your presents with your index finger.  I thought it was hard when we lost Lucky and he wasn't there to open his stocking anymore.  This is definitely going to be different.

When we lost Lucky, I remember coming home to see him one last time.  I didn't want to say goodbye but I had to see him.  I remember Nana telling me that she said goodbye to him but you refused to.  I know it hurt you too much even though you never let on about it.  (After last week, I can completely sympathize with you on that one.) You loved Lucky so much.  I remember you used to sneak him food scraps.  Don't worry, I did too.  He was a really special dog.  After we lost him, you always wanted to get a puppy for you and Nana.  Someday, Eliot and I plan to get one.  I know I'll think of you when that day comes.  In the meantime, say hi to Lucky for me and please give him a kiss.  I know you'll both take care of each other.

Speaking of which, please say hi to Grammie and Grampie for me as well.  And Great Grammie and Grampie too.  Please tell them all that I miss them.  Maybe you've met Eliot's grandfather.  I'm sure you and him could have quite a lot to talk about with engineering and technology.  If you meet Walt Disney, please tell him how much I respect him and how much I appreciate everything he's created.

Which brings me to Disney.  Wow.  We've had quite a few memories there, huh? They're some of my favorite ones.  I remember going there with you during high school for the 100 Years of Magic celebration.  I'm so happy I have that picture of you, Nana, Jeremy and me in front of the train station.  We have so many PhotoPass photos from the past few years.  They're totally worth every single penny we've spent.  

Every year you'd look forward to going to Florida.  I remember when I was younger how you and Nana would move to Florida for a few months each winter.  I was so excited when we would come to visit you.  You used to have a small trailer at a retirement park.  I remember going to visit you there.  Mom sent you a lobster one year for your birthday and she said the whole neighborhood came over to see how it was packaged up.  When you and Nana decided it was too much to live down there for months at a time, you both started to go to Florida with my family for a vacation.

Boy did we have fun.  I remember riding with you and Nana in the front of the Monorail. We saw as many of the shows and the parades as we could.  Those were your favorite.  I loved to see the way your face lit up while watching them.  I loved going on my favorite rides with you and sharing that experience.  You were always watching online for news of construction or expansion.  I'll miss you asking me about different additions or changes they're doing.  I remember one time when we all went into the Magic Kingdom and we got ice creams while we sat near the castle.  It was such a simple thing but it's a wonderful memory.  I also remember going to Sea World and Universal Studios with you.  You told us about the year you and Nana worked at Sea World and you watched the Shamu show almost daily.  We had so many adventures in Florida it's hard to even count them all.

One year, we had so much fun that the rest of the family realized they were missing out.  The next year, we had our 2009 Mylen family reunion at Walt Disney World.  That trip was so much fun.  I designed family reunion t-shirts and insisted we get a picture in front of the castle.  We got a great family photo and then we got quite a few of you and Nana with us 8 grandkids.  We all ran around the parks and at the end of the day, we all met back up to watch SpectroMagic and Wishes at the Magic Kingdom.  Afterwards, we went to dinner at Bob Evans.  All 20 something of us.  It was a blast.

My favorite Disney memory has to be Eliot's and my wedding.  When we finally selected our wedding date; I prayed every single day for over a year that you and Nana would both be able to go.  I was so happy you were able to.  It meant the world to me and Eliot to have you both there.  I know you were really impressed by Disney and by how much fun it was.  Mom told me that you talked about it often.  I'm so glad I danced with you at our reception.  That's a memory no one can ever take away from me.  And we'll always have those photos and the video.  I'm so thankful for that.

We have so many beautiful memories with you Papa.  And for that, I'm so grateful.  I'm sure more memories will come to me at the most random moments.  There will be tons of small things that remind me of you.  It will also be the small things that I miss the most.  You asking how our drive home was.  Asking me about the weather.  How work is going for me and for Eliot.  Asking about our businesses.  You writing on all of our Facebook walls.  All the small things meant so much to me.

I'll think of you often.  I will every single time I have a lobster.  When there's a big storm brewing and the waves are crashing against the shore in Acadia.  When anyone is playing poker, especially online.  When I'm bundled up and freezing my butt off.  When we go to camp.  When we have family get togethers.  I'll always think of you.

I know how much you loved your family.  You were fiercely proud of all of us.  You raised three great kids.  And all eight of us grandchildren adore you as you did us.  I promise we'll take good care of Nana for you.  (She's a tough one as I'm sure you know after 60 years of marriage.)  We're all going to miss you a lot.  But you're still here with us.  You always will be in our hearts.

Everyone reminds me when I was about three and Uncle Jeff got married, I yelled out at the church before the ceremony stating that "I need my Papa!"  It always makes me chuckle.  I did need my Papa; I still do.  I'm going to miss you every single second of everyday for the rest of my life.  I'm promise I'm going to make you proud, just like I always have.  I'll live my life to the fullest and savior all the little moments.

Most of all, thank you for being a wonderful grandfather.  You were the best.  Thank you for all of the great times and for the memories that I will always cherish.  This isn't goodbye.  I still refuse to say goodbye.  This is I'll see you soon, but hopefully not too soon.  I know you'll be patiently waiting for us.  And in the meantime, you'll be watching over us and here in our hearts and in spirit.  I love you and miss you so much Papa.  I always will.  Love, Melissa"  °o°


  1. so very sorry for your loss. I remember singing to my grandma for hours as she was turned off life support, it still seems like yesterday although it's been 5 years!
    thinking of you and praying for you..just hang on to those sweet memories!!

    1. Thank you Tristan. It's so hard to lose a loved one, especially grandparents. They're pretty special. I'm definitely comforted by all of the wonderful memories we had with him.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful memories and tribute to your grandfather!