My 87 Year Old Twin

Giro “Jerry” Gallo was quite the character. He was not very affectionate and almost never told anyone that he loved them, including but not limited to, his 11 grandchildren. He instead baked you an abundance of loaves of bread, made you soups, and bought you pretzels from Philly Pretzel Factory. 

It was about 1:30 in the morning on January 27, 2019, when my mom woke me up with the worst news I could imagine, my grandpa, Jerry, had passed away. My grandpa, who we all refer to as “Poppy”, had been sick for a while. My grandpa and I were similar in so many ways and knowing that I am carrying on parts of his personality helps me to deal with the loss of such an important figure in my life. I made him laugh like no one else. 

Two days before the 27th, my grandpa left the rehabilitation center he had spent the past month in and was put on hospice care, so we knew the end was near. The next day, my entire, extended, Italian family came over, bearing all different foods. As soon as we ventured into the basement, the mood shifted. We all sat around his bed in silence, trying to come to terms with what was laying in front of us. That night some of my cousins, aunts, and uncles stayed the night. Even though we thought he would have a bit more time with us, no one could bring themselves to leave. 

At 1:30 in the morning the very next day, my grandpa took his last breath. The next few days dragged by and were full of tears, hugs, and sympathy. We filled an abundance of boards with pictures that we didn’t even realize we had. He was just such a large part of our lives that he was always there and in turn, in so many of our pictures. Although it was hard, assembling those boards brought my cousin and me closer and made us feel oddly comforted in the hardest loss of our lives thus far. 

My grandpa was the only grandparent I have ever met. The other three passed away before I was born, so my grandpa knew that he really had to step up. He played all the roles that we needed growing up. He picked out presents (with help from my mom) we would like for every Christmas Eve, anything from American Girl dolls to a Vera Bradley duffel bag. He was there for every big milestone and carrying on without him has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with. 

To this day, I possess so many similar mannerisms to him that my whole family points out. My mom even calls me Jerry on occasion because so many say that I am his twin. I miss him every day, but it is somewhat comforting to know that I carry on some of his most endearing qualities. So, after 87 years on this planet, my grandpa went to be with my grandma, who I never met but I’m sure was just as memorable. 


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