I have many fond memories of my grandfather. As a kid, I called him “Pap”. My family would pack in the car and make fairly frequent 4 hour drives to their house in a small (tiny) town in Pennsylvania, and I usually spent a week there over the summer. My favorite memory is our walks from the house to “downtown”, where he’d buy a newspaper and I some penny candy (that actually cost a penny).

He lived independently for a few years after my grandmother died, but eventually began to fall ill. By the time Bryan and I found out we were expecting the twins, he was living in a nursing facility. We took one last trip up to that tiny town in Pennsylvania over Christmas in 2012 to visit him. His health was quite poor at this point, and no one was sure how much longer he’d be with us.

Unfortunately, he was barely lucid by the time we arrived, but he looked at me and looked at my belly and I could tell he knew. He didn’t have to say anything, you could just see it in his face. At that visit, he gave the twins one of their first gifts. It was a set of stuffed bears, one boy and one girl, that he named Isadore and Isabella.

He passed shortly after the new year. I knew he’d never get to meet Miles and Abby but was sad all the same.

We used the bears in our maternity pictures, but otherwise they have sat on a shelf as I was trying to keep them nice and clean. Honestly, I had forgotten about them – not on purpose, just after getting involved in the hustle and bustle of life. A couple of days ago, though, both Abby and Miles came marching out of their room, a bear in each hand.

He may not have gotten to meet them, but he is still here.