I was born one warm Wednesday in Virginia, & though i only lived there for six short months of my new life before moving home to Florida, i hold VA very close to my heart. My father was born & raised there, he grew up the son of a farmhouse man & wife with his four siblings. He joined the Navy & left town, thus resulting in his brief relocation to Scotland where he met my mother. See: love, marriage, children.

My brother & i loved going up to Virginia to visit Grandma & Grandpa's house. Life there was so vastly different to what we were used to in whichever corner of Florida we were currently situated, & it was incredible. Acres & acres of farm to explore, homemade breakfasts ready at the crack of dawn, Farm animals to play with that i just adored (Ringo, Boots, Boo-Boo), fireflies to catch at night & just being around our Grandparents... we loved it. My Grandpa would take us out to explore the fields, sit on his tractor & tell us stories, my Grandma would load us into her sharny green sedan & shuffle us over to her friends houses or the store. We adored it all. My only snow day was held in their front lawn- snowball fights, a snowman, it was completely legit and magical, especially for a couple of elementary school children from Key West, Florida.

& oh how i loved catching fireflies in Grandma's mason jars, I never see them in Florida & it was so exciting to capture those little lightning bugs. Every time i hear Copeland's Brightest Little Firefly it always brings me back.

Recently, i made the reminiscent ten hour drive from Florida up to Virginia with my folks. Only it wasn't a venture with a cheerful, exciting tone. My grandfather is dying. It breaks my heart to even write those words out. My parents, my brother & i were heading up to say goodbye to my now, frail & very ill grandpa. Words cannot even express the intense sadness that derives from seeing him so helpless and weak, or from watching as my sweet Grandma clutches his hand into hers by his bedside like she does everyday... hoping for a response.

I know that every life eventually comes to an end, but this was the first time i've felt so close to it. It was a very emotional trip, but i am beyond happy & endlessly grateful for the opportunity to see him alive again, an opportunity to tell him i love him, that most do not get. On the last day i visited him, he was awake, & he looked into my eyes, and gave me his cheek to kiss. I did & told him i loved him. It was the first time i felt he knew what was going on, sure it was something small, but something that touched me, that i know i will never forget.

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