My dad shared this picture on Facebook today:
The man in the back row, third from the left, is my Grandpa. He's my dad's dad. His real name was Ed. That is a really good grandpa name.
Grandpa died in May of 1998, 16 years ago this month. He died when I was 13. I didn't realize it till the other day, but for several years now he's been dead longer than I knew him. When I realized that it made me really sad.
I didn't see my Grandpa too often because he lived a few hours away, but I really loved him. I loved him because he was my Grandpa, of course, but I also liked him because he was nice. He gave really good hugs. He liked to sing songs, I really remember him singing Love in the Afternoon. I have no idea what song that is or what the other words are, but I remember him singing that line a lot. He also had a really good laugh. Sometimes if I close my eyes and listen really hard I can still hear it. He loved the Mountaineers. He was really good at golf and showed me how to hit golf balls on his farm. I still can't do it. But he could hit them really far.
He died really suddenly. He had knee replacement surgery and was fine. Then he had a pulmonary embolism and he was dead. Just like that. I know God was really watching out for our family because Grandpa and my grandmother, Leannah, had come to Huntington for my brother's first communion. I had been out of town most of the weekend on a dance trip, but I returned in time on Sunday to spend about an hour with him. The last thing he ever said to me was I love you, and I'm so glad that I know that.
Although it's been a very long time since he was alive, I still think about him pretty often and wonder what things would be like if he was still here. I still miss him. And if I think about it too hard it's almost like I just made him up and he was never real. Does that ever happen to you? You think about something so hard that it kind of just hurts your brain? I'm also really lucky because I had 13 years with him. My sister Emma was only 3 when he died, so she doesn't remember him at all.
I'm really glad my dad shared that picture because remembering Grandpa makes me smile. I haven't thought about him for this long or this deeply in a while. And I know I'll see him again one day.