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About Julie

A Coffee Date

Hi friend. Can we grab some coffee? Something has been on my heart lately and I’d love to chat.

If we sat down for coffee I’d tell you about a phone call I got a couple weeks ago that made me sad. I was getting ready to take some photos for a blog post when my mom called. We hadn’t caught up in a while and she wanted to let me know the latest news about my grandpa. (My grandpa has progressive supranuclear palsy and lives in a nursing home.)

She told me he has been choking lately. I instantly think back to my trip to Michigan when she told me choking was one of the causes of death in people with this disease. She tells me that hospice has been called in, and that…..we need to get prepared.

“Six months,” she says. “It could be less than that.”

She tells me she read my entire Etsy interview to him when she last visited the nursing home. And the first thing my grandpa said in response was “She was always smart.”

Hearing my mom tell me this brings on tears. I struggle to keep my voice calm. She reminds me that he always asks about me.

At this point in telling you this, over our coffees, I have to break from our conversation (and in typing this). There’s those tears again. I excuse myself to blow my nose a bajillion times. Then return, take a sip of coffee, and continue.

I tell you how it breaks my heart that my grandpa has to hear about my life through an internet article. I worry that I will feel guilty when he’s gone for not being there for his last years. Then I admit to myself that the guilt is already there.

I hope that he is proud of me for pursuing my dreams. And I hope he knows that I feel so lucky to have been the first grandchild of such an special man.

More tears.

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • lolly says:

    Girl, there are tears in my eyes for you right now. I’m so very sorry to hear about your Grandpa.

    Though our situations are different, believe me, I know ALL about that guilt. I haven’t seen or spoken to my Dad or his side of the family in years. Some of my Aunts have passed away and I feel SUPER guilty but in my heart I know I have to accept my decision(s) because they are the best for my life moving forward.

    I’m pretty damn sure he is incredibly proud of you and your ambitions, though. We live in a crazy time with all of this technology. It’s actually pretty cool he was able to hear about your successes and what you’re up to through an INTERVIEW ON ETSY – 😉 But I know it’s always nice to be able to tell a loved one good news yourself.

    Stay strong, love! Xo

  • Heidi says:

    This literally brought me to tears. I know exactly how you are feeling– one of the toughest things to deal with in life. I also struggled with being so far from my grandpa when his health was failing him. A month before he died, I was waiting on my birthday with some of my students to be picked up by their parents from basketball practice. I got a phone call from my grandparents, I’m sure to wish me a happy birthday, but since I was with my students, I rejected the call, deciding to call them back later, something I never did before. I forgot to call. I still feel guilty for not picking up that phone. However, I know I shouldn’t. Even though I couldn’t always see him or talk to him, I know that he was proud of what I was doing with my life. He is also the main reason I decided to quit teaching. His passing was a reminder that you have to take life by the horns and do what you love because you only have that chance once. I’m absolutely certain that your grandpa is proud of you even if you feel like you’re unsure of that. Life takes us to different places and I’m sure he knows that better than anyone else since he’s already been living a lifetime. Love for family is like that– even if you’re not there all of time, it’s still alive and well. Lots of hugs to you while you’re dealing with all of this!

  • gina says:

    this is so hard. and such a sweet post. i have lost all of my grandparents and wether it’s a sudden death or a prolonged one, it is still so hard. It really makes you think about life and what it all means. How all the little things we do each day don’t really matter but the relationships we form and the way we live our lives as a whole is what matters. Sending you lots of love. xoxo

  • chelsea says:

    Sending you interweb hugs lady. I have a similar sad story that I won’t type out at the moment because I’ll turn into a geyser. But be happy that he knows how successful you are currently and will continue to be, I’m sure hearing the Etsy interview is a great comfort to him. If you’re ever up in the Santa Ynez Valley, we will snag a real coffee and turn into blubbering geysers together 🙂 HUGS!!!!

  • Erika says:

    ahhh julie. I’m crying. I am so sorry that you are struggling through this. Praying for you and your family– transitions like this are so tough.

    And now I’m going to call my grandma.

  • sweet girl. what a beautiful heart you have. your grandfather is blessed to have you as his granddaughter! praying for you and your family in these hard next days.

  • Bree says:

    Aw Honey. He is so proud of you and loves you so much. Don’t feel guilty for pursuing your dreams because I am so sure that that is what he wants you to be doing.

    If we were getting coffee together I would hug you and cry with you. Know that he is proud of you for chasing your dreams. I hope you get to visit him soon.


  • I’m so sorry. It’s always so hard when loved ones are ailing, especially when you’re far away. I experienced something similar when my grandmother who had alzheimer’s also developed cancer (it had progressed throughout…alzheimer patients can’t exactly point out their symptoms to you) and passed away while I was living in Texas. All I can say is imagine you got a lot of big hugs over coffee and don’t beat yourself up. It’s hard not to, but it isn’t your fault. Life is life and sometimes it’s just…hard. I don’t think you should ever be be ashamed of living yours. It is great that he knows all you’ve accomplished and is able to have that pride. I bet it means the world to him.

  • Lulu says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about your grandpa. As I was reading this, I started to cry and remembered my grandfather and the good times we had together.

  • I’m trying to hold back tears. I know exactly how you’re feeling as I’ve felt the same guilt too. But it sounds like just from what your grandpa said, he is proud of you and you’re a good grand daughter too. I wish I could give you a big hug!

  • Oh I am sure that your Grandpa thinks the world of you, and would probably be disappointed if you didn’t follow your dreams and live your best life. I’m sure that as long as he knows you are thinking of him and carry him in your heart, that is all that matters. I work with the elderly in a nursing home environment and I am sure he is receiving a lot of love and special care right now, which can hopefully bring a little comfort. Take care!

  • BCshutterbug says:

    I know that guilt, I felt it a lot a few years ago when my Grandma was ill. She’d been sick for a long time and had a couple close calls before the end. Something that I learned, she was happy that I was happy (and she was fascinated with Skype). There’s not much to say other then keep doing what makes you happy, it’s what family cares about most.

  • Angie Bailey says:

    *big hug* I am SO SORRY, lady. My grandparents and I were never close, so I never really, truly, experienced that grandparents-and-granddaughter bond, but I can still totally understand the closeness. I hope you give yourself a hug, and never feel guilty. ’tis sounds like you love your grandfather so much, and that he loves you, and that is so truly what matters!

  • <3 hang in there. i’m here for you. <3

  • if we were at a coffee date together, my friend..i’d give you my shoulder to lean on. and i’d probably cry with you. love you so much and it sounds like your grandfather did too.

  • hasenklein says:

    Really beutiful how you put this in words. I have lost both my granddads a while ago, my grandmothers are still alive – though 6 hours away. I feel that guilt of not being there a lot of times. Although I know they think it’s great that I live a live of my own. I guess it’s just how live goes. The best is probably to let them know that you care even though you’re not there.

  • I cried reading this post, big hugs to you and your family.

    I recently lost my grandmother who was a big inspiration in my creative life and setting up my Etsy store. I often felt guilty we didn’t spend more time together, but she used to carry around a copy of magazine feature I was in, in her handbag, which made me feel so special.

    I was lucky enough to get another magazine feature this month and I took it to show my Grandad. I mentioned I was inspired by my grandmother in the feature and it brought him to tears.

    The point I am trying to make is, these moments of success in our life will always make our families proud, no matter how they hear of them. I hope you have the chance to spend time with your Grandfather and cherish the memories always.

    Much love,


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