13 Years Ago...

January 29th always means a day of remembering. It was the day my Grampy died. I was only 12, but I still remember the whole day very clearly. I guess that I didn't even realize what was happening. I had lost my other Grampy when I was 8, but I never really thought about it. To me, it was something that just happened sometimes. When people got old they died. I knew he had cancer, for a long time, but I never really understood or appreciated all that it entailed. The day it happened, my dad and step mom came to my house. I saw them pull in, and thought to myself "I wonder if they want me to babysit Nathan?" I went downstairs to meet them at the door, and I knew immediately that something wasn't right.
When I was 3 days old.

After that, there was a lot of family time spent together, mostly down at my grandparents house. I remember eating nachos, and thinking to myself, "I didn't think this was the kind of thing you ate at these kind of things." I did end up babysitting, for the funeral, all of the other grandkids.

A few years later, I guess I realized what I was missing. My grampy was my hero. When my mom was trying to punish me, I would cry in my bed and yell "I want my nanny and grampy!" How could he not have been my hero? He was big and strong, and knew absolutely everything. I lived to regret not spending more time with him. I guess I was just at the age where spending time with your grandparents isn't fun anymore, and you'd rather be with your friends. I suppose too, that it was a little scary, going to their house, and seeing him so sick, a shell of his former self.

Snoozin on the 'Chesterfield'
As the years went on, I learned things about him that I wished I didn't know, but I realize, no one is perfect, especially those you place up on a pedestal your whole life. He was still the best grampy ever, and I was lucky to have been the grandkid that got to spend the most time with him. My little sister, who was born after he died, will never know how awesome he really was. She will only hear stories and see pictures.

About three years ago, when I was in my last year of university, something strange happened. I don't even know if I believe in this stuff, but it was so real to me, and I cry every time I think about it. I dreamed that I was in a small, white room, and he was there with me. He was big, and strong, like he was before he got sick. He told me that he missed me, and he loved me, and that he was sorry he couldn't still be around. He said that he was proud of me becoming a nurse, and asked me to take care of my grandmother for him. Then he hugged me and was gone. I woke up sweating and crying. It was so vivid and real.

Riding on the 3 Wheeler.
I think about him often. About how life would have been if he were still here. About picking potato bugs for 5 cents a bug (yup, I learned the value of a dollar pretty fast!). About the time he cast my fishing rod for me and threw the whole thing into the water, and aunt Deb rescued it for me. About eating gulls eggs and sardines for breakfast (I did pretty much everything he did). About spending the night at their house, and sneaking into their room because he was snoring sooo loud to poke him in the cheek to see if he would stop.

I miss him like crazy but I know that I'll see him again someday. He was taken way to early. 61 was not old. It was so unfair, but at least I knew him and loved him. I wish he was still here to meet his first great grand baby, but she will know him through stories.