Thank you to all who supported me and followed along with this project all year long. Whether you took the time to view each and every photo from the year, just a few, or just one. Your support is appreciated more than you could ever know.
So raise your nearest glass and here’s to you! Hope this year was everything you wanted.
Make sure you set out to accomplish a personal goal for yourself in 2012. This project is proof that anything you can set your mind to can be accomplished with persistence and patience.
Happy New Year!
When she was a little girl, grandpa got up early one day to head to the horse track. Grandma didn’t want him blowing all his money that day, so she convinced my aunt to go with daddy and keep an eye on him! At first she did not want to spend her whole day at a horse track, but Grandpa said that if they won, then he would buy her this new bicycle that she had seen at the store and had wanted so bad.
So they went. Not your typical father/daughter day. Grandpa always had a way with the horses. Somehow he just knew the right ones to bet and the right time. This day, he hit almost every long shot that came in. My aunt never yelled so much in her life for a horse to run faster! When they went to collect the winnings, Grandpa suddenly had a wad of money in his hands. True to his promise, he pulled out a crisp new $100 bill and said, today was our lucky day, now let’s go get you that bike!
To this day, she still has that bike. It may not be as fast, or as flashy, but the memory lives on. And always will.
But there was a side of Grandpa we found today that not many of us ever saw, or even know. The romancer! We found old letters he wrote to his beautiful wife of 52 years, some of which were done while they still dated.
In one in particular, he wrote a love ‘prayer’ to her. It goes:
“Heavenly father up above,
Please protect the girl I love.
Help her to know, help her to see,
That I love her, and she loves me.
Help us now, help us forever,
To be loyal and always together.
Grant me this wish, and I’ll be content,
And thank you dear Lord, for the angel you sent.”
-Frank Swierczek to his wife of 52 years, LaVergne
Today I drove down to meet up with family to start going through some of the old keepsakes and memories of grandpa. Along the way, the clouds parted just a bit, and grandpa and I were able to share one last conversation.
He told me heaven is just like you would imagine it would be. Everyone is happy. All your friends are there. And the Cubbies have won the last 103 consecutive heaven world series’!
My grandfather had a nickname for all the grandkids. Mine was “Tiger”.
My Grandfather passed away this morning. Peacefully. Quietly. Calmly. Without any pain. Just how anyone would have wanted it.
I don’t have much to say about anything today. I again tried taking a photo to make some sort of meaningful tribute for the project, but just could not muster the creative strength to balance with the technical skills of operating a camera today.
So again I use a photo that I took earlier. This one, from last Christmas. A wonderful way to remember such a loving man. Happy. Smiling. Enjoying life. Grasping on to a memory of the ones he loved most.
Rest in peace, Grandpa. Thank you for teaching me all that you did about life. You live on in all of your family.