A few months ago, when I was praying for Tom, the most simplistic epiphany hit me — Tom simply and selflessly loved me, whether I called him grandfather or not, that was it and that was all it needed to be. He gave me a gift from my infancy until the day he died, never expecting anything in return. Our relationship didn’t need to be over-dramatized or labeled to make sense. Tom simply loved me, and in return, I loved him.
As I look back, I can still see that little girl, arms crossed tightly over her shivering tiny frame, waiting for Tom’s outstretched arms to protect her. That trusting little girl never knew her true paternal grandfather, but she was immeasurably blessed to be loved by someone who never needed a title to tell him how to love.
Kathy Gates Milewski lives in Merrimac.