Dear Papa,

Dear Papa,

I never knew 6 years could go by so fast.  Know what else I never knew? Six years later I would still be able to remember your laugh and the sparkle in your blue eyes that stayed even when the chemo did its best to smother it out.  Six whole years and I feel like every time I walk into your house I’ll hear you laughing with Mama in the kitchen. That speaks of the kind of man you were; when I can hear your laugh in my mind like I just saw you yesterday.

So many things have happened since you left, I don’t even know where to start. I’ve traveled to Europe again and stayed in Germany with “Schwinny” and his family.  (You made an impact on Sven too you know.  He took it pretty hard when he found out you were no longer with us.)  Austin married an amazing and wonderful woman named Sarah. You would have loved her. (She can bake almost as well as Mama). Brooke is pregnant again, but this time she’s having a girl to help even out the playing field of their family. ;) Last week I went on a trip to Acworth, GA with your sister to visit Bob and Julie. We talked about the trip we all took together to the Gulf when I was a kid. You and Mama and her and Gus and Mom and Dad. I was so young, but I remember the oranges on the trees and you telling me I needed to go outside and play so I could “get brown”.

I met somebody that I think you would have really enjoyed spending time with.  He has a sense of humor that reminds me so much of you sometimes. Nothing ever gets him down. I wish  you two could have met. Sometimes I wonder if maybe you went to one of Evan’s games or perhaps you were both at the gas station or something and you crossed paths and he has no idea. It’s a small town. It’s more reassuring to think that the two of you really had met at one point in time even if you don’t remember it, because you are one of the most important people I’ve ever had in my life and I can’t really stand the thought that you two never met.  We drove past the cemetery on our motorcycle the other day. (I’m sure you aren’t too thrilled about that, but I promise we wear our helmets and play it safe.)  Anyway, I had him stop.  I brushed the grass clippings off of your stone. (I’m sure nobody else notices that type of thing, but Blake’s taught me a thing or two about proper cemetery mowing etiquette.) ;) He told me he was sorry he never got a chance to meet you and then asked if I thought the two of you would have gotten along. I could just see it in my head – you and him trading stories and me listening to you guys and just laughing the whole time. You would have loved him.  Plus, he gives Mama a run for her money in euchre.  That’s saying something.

You’re still with us Papa.  Every Christmas, every Hunter Reunion, every family birthday, every Sunday lunch it’s like you were just there and left for a second or walked into the other room.  If only you really were and any second you’d come around the corner and see me and call out, “Alli girl!”  But as Ginny put it, “I guess we will always want one more week, one more day…”

Do you remember my best friend Lorin? We went to high school together and then roomed together at WKU. When we found out she had a malignant melanoma and she had to leave for a semester, she once told me that you and her sometimes did your chemo together. I’m sure you’d be happy to know that she’s now a 6 year survivor.  Her chances of getting cancer again are as likely as me getting it, or anyone else for that matter.  Why two of the most important people in my life would get cancer at the same time, I’ll never know. But I can say one thing for certain, it’s made the time that I do get to spend with her and the time I did spend with you all that more precious.

I miss you Papa. Plain and simple. So does Mama. So does the rest of the family. Were you able to have a Hunter reunion in Heaven the same time we had ours down here? I know there have been a few more members of our family who’ve joined you in the past few years. I hope you all are able to get together and reminisce like we still do.

If by some chance you get an internet connection in Heaven, make sure you subscribe to my blog. Or at least start following us on facebook.  Life is pretty great down here.  I know you would love to still be here celebrating it with us, but I promise to try to keep moving forward with a positive outlook the way you taught me.  Tonight I’ll be toasting you with a small scoop of neapolitan ice cream. Maybe if you’re listening really hard, you’ll be able to hear me clinking my spoon against the bowl. There are some legacies that this family will pass down for generations. ;)

Love you with all my heart.


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