It’s not often you have the opportunity to meet a person who has such a profound impact on his family the way Tracey’s grandfather, Albert DelPico (PawPaw) had on his. I remember the first time I met him, his reputation was already built up in my head as a man who cared for, and helped take care of every single member of his family, from his wife, to his kids, to his grandkids. The first time I shook his hand I was a little intimidated, until he said “whoa, you’re a tall fella aren’t ya?” From that moment on, I felt welcomed into his house and into his family.
For all the years following I saw how every single member of their family lit up the second he walked into a room. He was clearly the beacon of light for their family and it was great to experience. My girls lit up just like all the rest of them and loved on their Great PawPaw, which I know he just ate up. Ever since they were born, the girls were falling asleep in his arms or snuggling up next to him on the couch any chance they got.
I’ve spent the last year or so chronicling the funny stuff that the girls do and say, but sometimes it’s not always fun being a parent. Sometimes you have to have tough conversations with them that you wish someone else could have in your place. While they’re still too young to completely understand, I had to let the girls know that mommy’s PawPaw had passed away and was now in heaven. They seemed to take it well, but I think it was because I didn’t cry, which was tough to do. They asked a lot of questions that I didn’t really have the answer to, but ultimately they found comfort in knowing they’d see PawPaw again some day when they went to heaven.
I remember when I was around 5 years old, I was sent over to my Mammaw and Papaw’s while my parents had to run out somewhere. When they got back, they were clearly upset and I vividly remember my mom telling me that my grandfather had died. I remember crying really hard and being really sad, but mostly because my mom and dad were crying. I didn’t totally understand what happened. I think that was the first time they had to tell us about someone dying and I now see how hard that was for them to tell us. Being from a huge, close family has it’s benefits, but the downside is that you are closer to more people who pass away and therefore have to go to more funeral’s as you’re growing up. It’s not easy and it’s something I hope to not have to tell my girls about again any time soon.
I’m truly happy for all the time the girls were able to spend with their Great PawPaw. Even though it was difficult to make the trip to St. Louis or even harder for him to make up here as often as we would have liked, in those few short visits, it was great that the girls got to spend time with him. I can see his influence on their family and it has helped make them all very close, warm, inviting and just plain wonderful people like he was. He was truly a great man and will be missed, no doubt. I’m not really sure how to end this post other than to say my thoughts and well wishes go out to everyone in the DelPico family. You’re a wonderful group of people and just like Del, you’re all very special to me.
Here’s a few more photos I dug up of him with the girls…