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The Grampy Jacket
Losing a Child

The Grampy Jacket

My son had one of those puffy Columbia down jackets. It was bright orange like a lifejacket. Never a color he’d have chosen for himself, but it was a gift, and he didn’t have the heart to say anything other than, “No, it’s perfect. I love it.”

The first time he wore it he said he felt like Grampy, because my dad tends to go for bright colors. At some point that just became the name of the jacket. If he couldn’t find it, he’d say, “Have you seen my Grampy jacket?” or “Did I leave my Grampy jacket in your car?” Always the Grampy jacket.

I gave the jacket to my dad about a year ago and told him why I wanted him to have it. He had a special bond with my son, and he really got a kick out of knowing Mario called this his “Grampy” jacket. I didn’t know if he’d wear it or not, and that was never the expectation. I just wanted him to have it.

My folks were having some friends over this evening, and I stopped in to visit. My dad was heading outside to sit by the fire after dinner and he walked into the room wearing Mario’s jacket. I wasn’t expecting it and words aren’t big enough to say how incredibly heart-warming that was. As I walked by, I smiled and rubbed my hand along his shoulder and said, “I like your jacket.” He just smiled back. Someone nearby overheard me and chimed in, “Yes, it’s very nice” … and then my dad smiled and said, “It was my grandson’s.”

As I continued down the hall, I could hear my dad telling this person the Grampy jacket story.

Somehow I know my son heard him, and he’s smiling too. 


About the Author

Maria Sallese

Maria Sallese lost her 26-year-old son to suicide in 2019 and joined the Alliance of Hope forum shortly after. She finds hope and healing through writing and wishes to help others by sharing her words. Maria can be reached at: sallese.maria@gmail.comRead More »