Hannah G. shared a letter in the Magical Moments group 2 weeks, 4 days ago
The Magic of Kindness
Posted on the first anniversary of my Pepere’s passing.
I absolutely adored my Pepere* Hebert. He was a man larger than life and a heart of gold. When I was younger as a joke he would take the Doritos that I would have with my lunch, which would send me into a fit of crying because those were my favorite chips. As I grew older I saw both a silly and sensitive side to my Pepere. One day he would be giving his bride, his wife of over 50 (maybe 60) years a hotdog as a Christmas present, the next he’d be comforting me over the phone and reminding me that he loved me as I cried about lost friendships. I adored this man that would do anything for his family, that would do anything to see me smile. He was my hero saving the day countless times whether it was pulling a pin my sister had gotten stuck in her foot out of her foot (because I was too scared and squeamish to do it myself) or whether it was driving two hours to pick up my prom date whose car had broken down so that I didn’t have to go to prom alone. Every weekend he would take a leisurely ride past those of the children and grandchildren who lived in the area. My mom tells me he did this to make sure we were all ok. I grew up visiting him and my Memere almost every Friday night. If we ever skipped a Friday he was sure to call on Saturday asking when we were coming over. And when we were about to leave he would also exclaim “sabre** come again.” Anyone who visited was sure to feel welcome by the warmth of my Memere and Pepere’s home and the love that they exuded. Both of them were so generous with their time, treasure, and talent.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that my Pepere taught me was to never give up. Though he had several health issues he was never one to sit on the sidelines and wait for death. He found different ways of doing his hobbies. Around Thanksgiving of 2022 both my grandparent’s health declined and they were both in the hospital. My Pepere pressed on and started doing better. My Memere’s health unfortunately declined and she passed away on December 23rd (I’ll write a letter about how much I loved her later on). The funeral for her came and went. The months in between my sweet Pepere couldn’t catch a break. His health was declining. My mom and her sister would visit every day to take care of him and help him with things. In February my parents came downstate (I live 7 hours away from them but still in the same state) to attend another loved one’s funeral. After the funeral we got the news that my Pepere’s health was declining and the end was near. I packed my bag and made the choice to head up North to see him one last time. Little did I know that I would be the one that he would choose to be beside him holding his hand when he was actively dying. I noticed his eyes were sort of open, but they were a different color than the deep brown they had always been and they were glazed over. I called for my mom and she told me it wouldn’t be long. She was right. He passed away within minutes.
I took bereavement time off from work to attend the funeral and to process all that had happened. Trying to move forward and to create some sense of normalcy I decided to go to a little café/gift shop for breakfast that day. I ordered and ate my breakfast. Then I lingered to look at what was in the gift shop. Amanda Gorman’s book “Call Us What We Carry” caught my eye. I debated whether or not to buy it in my head. As if reading my thoughts this little old man seated at a table not far away asks if I know who that is to which I respond yes. He then asks if I am going to buy the book and I answer that I am not sure. Without skipping a beat this man pulls out $20 and places it in my hand and tells me to buy the book. He tells me he does a nice thing for someone every day and today I was the recipient of his kindness. I could’ve cried right then and there. This man didn’t know me, he didn’t know that I had just lost my Pepere, he didn’t know I was grieving, he didn’t know that I had come to this café to find some normalcy when my world had been crumbling down. The only thing this man knew was that his kindness mattered. That moment didn’t cure the grief that I was and that I still feel about the passing of my Pepere, but it sure did bring a smile to my face. I believe that my Pepere put this man in my path to show me that he was watching over me.
That day the little old man was a testament to the quote “everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. Be kind.” I issue that same challenge to you today. Be kind to everyone you meet. It doesn’t have to mean buying something for someone, it could be as simple as smiling at someone or opening the door for them or entering into conversation with a stranger. You’ll never know how your kindness will impact another person. Let us choose to carry kindness with us wherever we go.
*Pepere is the French word for grandfather. It is pronounced pep/ehh. Memere is the French word for grandmother. It is pronounced mem-ehh.
**Sabre cannot be directly translated but is a French expression that indicates happiness, joy, contentment. And it was always said with that disposition too.
I am sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you for your loss. Your love ones sound so sweet and loving. I am sure they are looking down and are very proud of you. Continue to honor your grandparent’s memory.
Here is to loving your family,
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I’m so sorry for your loss Hannah. I’m glad that you were able to be so brave and strong while sharing the light that they marked on you in this world. I’m sure your grandparents would be so proud of the woman you are today and to know that you are making big moves and writing such a sweet letter about them. Stay strong and keep up the amazing work!
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