dearest Opa,

You used to call me ugly as a term of endearment – it was our inside joke that started at the very beginning of our relationship… I believe it was around the time I started working at a Bavarian restaurant in town, and Omi lent me a bright green dirndl, my hair was purple at the time, and you thought the colour combination was hilarious.
I always felt like you treated me as one of your own, it was as if I had been part of your family for the 14 years prior to our meeting, and I appreciate you so much for that. You made room for me at the adult table during family dinners, snuck me shots of ouzo while my parents were out of the room and always made time to sit and chat with me, which normally ended in us picking on each other or exchanging fake glares across the dinner table.
I helped you set up your first cell phone, the wallpaper was Sylvester and Tweety, and you would call me every time you needed help learning how to use some feature of it. After I moved to Vancouver, every once in a while, you would text or call me to make sure I was doing okay. It always started with “Hey Ugly!” – it only took those two words to spread a smile across my face.
I saw you twice, after moving back home. The last time you were not there, and that is okay. The second to last time, you looked at me and said,
“Melissa, you know I never actually thought you were ugly, right?”
I know Opa, I know.

We all love you so much.
Rest well.

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