If I would have to choose one person who had the biggest impact on my life I would have chosen my grandfather. He passed away in the summer of 2001, just a couple of days before my twin sisters had their first birthday. I was 13 and his death was one of the hardest moments in my life…. I was his little princess and he was my hero… and still is…
I remember him taking me to kindergarten every day. He helped me take off my shoes and jacket and that was the moment when I usually started crying. Then he quickly dressed me back, tied up my shoelaces, and took me home. As this became an everyday thing, my parents decided that they won’t insist and I didn’t have to go to kindergarten anymore, so my grandparents baby-sited me since they were retired and at home all the time. I was a spoiled child and I always got what I wanted, and staying at home was just one of my achievements.
He was quite tall though I can’t remember how tall exactly. His hair was greyish and he always combed them backwards. Usually he wore jeans and a checkered shirt with a cardigan on top. He had laughed very loudly and it was contagious. It still makes me laugh when I remember him laughing. We had our jokes that no one else understood and it makes me very sad that I don’t remember those anymore. He was a truck driver and that’s the main reason why I don’t get mad when a truck driver on a highway is slowly overtaking another, blocking the traffic. They’re just people whose job is to reach their destination as quickly as possible.
My grandfather loved cartoons and I still think that’s very cool. We had our little ritual – laying on the couch and watching cartoons after launch. Usually we both laughed our asses off and then we fall asleep. Those were the best times…
We both had trouble falling asleep so we usually stayed awake very late. My mom didn’t like me staying up late so I went to bed and pretended to sleep. And every night my grandfather came into my room to check on me before he went to bed. He opened the door very quietly, came to my bedside, and covered me with my blanket in his special way. I can’t explain how, but it’s a very nice memory.
There’s one event I remember very clearly. It was my birthday and we had a little party for our family. I think it was my 7th or 8th birthday, I can’t remember exactly. I wore a knitted pink dress with a white slim cat on it. My parents allowed me to drink a sip of wine, just for the toast. In some moment, my mom said something that made me cry and then she wanted to photograph me crying. I was running all over the house trying to escape from her and at the end, I ran in my grandfathers’ lap. He protected me from the camera but mom still made a photo of me crying in his lap (though you can’t see me crying on the photo). I still have this photo somewhere, I should find it.
I already mentioned I was a spoiled child so it’s not a surprise that my grandfather drove me to school and came to pick me up after even though we live about one kilometre (0.6 miles) away from school.
Once when we were alone at home we went out for pizza. Even though grandmother cooked something, I can’t recall what exactly it was but I think it was some kind of stew, we decided we wanted pizza. So we went to some pizza place and discovered a pizza with fruit. Of course we ordered it and I think we liked it. That was first and last time in my life that I ate pizza with fruit but now I have to try it again. When we finished we ordered pancakes for desert, which we both loved. He was known for having a sweet tooth.
He was the big boss in our house. When he commanded something, everyone obeyed. Luckily, I was his little princess so I was a bit privileged. But not always. If my cousin and I fought about something, grandfather always judged fairly. Ok, I have to admit that sometimes when it was my fault (which was very rarely) he didn’t punish me but I always felt guilty for disappointing him.
I always loved to listen to his stories. Because he was a truck driver he had so many exciting adventures to talk about. He was such a great storyteller that I could easily imagine everything he told me. I’m very disappointed I was so young when he died because I didn’t understand some stories he told about war and living in Yugoslavia which I would love to hear now that I know more about these things.
These are things I like to remember about him, not those bad days when he was fighting lung cancer and was exhausted and drained. Though I have to admit there isn’t one thing I would like to forget about him. Not even the day he died…