Dear Sweet Cheeks & Baby Bee,
This is a hard letter to write. Somehow writing it here makes it seem so final... more real that I am ready to accept. On August 5th, Papa Joe went to be with the Lord. He was the most amazing man I have ever met. I always felt I was lucky and so blessed to have him in my life. He was a man of integrity, and passion. He would always stand up for his family, and he loved his great-grand babies endlessly.
I never had a "dad". Not one worth mentioning, anyway. But Papa Joe stepped in to fill that role in my life. He taught me to drive a car. He took me prom dress shopping. He loaned me gas money when I was short. He answered the phone every time I got lost, needed advice, or didn't know which ingredients I needed at the grocery store. & Sometimes those calls came late at night, early in the morning, or multiple times a day. He was the one standing next to me on my wedding day... and every day before and after.
Sweet Cheeks, the day you were born, he was so excited. He sat around at the hospital all day waiting for your arrival. It was hard for him since he didn't have his oxygen with him. But he did it. Papa Joe couldn't wait to meet you, and he was one of the first ones in the room to hold you. He loved you so, so much. He bragged about you to anyone who would listen, and carried a picture of you with him in his wallet. He called you "Row-man", "His pride and joy". He taught you to sit up, and to climb on the couch. He gave you your first taste of chocolate. You loved to give him hugs and kisses as soon as you saw him. He got such a kick out of you.
I wish he could be here to watch you both grow. He wanted nothing more than to spend as much time as possible surrounded by family. I have photos saved to show you when you are older... We'll sit on the front porch with a cup of coffee and some old pictures and remember the amazing man called Papa Joe.