My grandpa died this week. I have never lost anyone close to me before him, so I really did not know what to expect. When I heard the news, I didn’t believe it, even though we had been anticipating it for a while. My mom woke me up early one morning to tell me. At first, I just stared at her, wishing she could take it back, and for it to all be a dream. But then she started crying. I did too. And then I couldn’t stop for a while.

For the past couple of years, my grandpa had some health problems. He wasn’t really himself, and his memory started to slowly fade away. The last few months of his life were not happy, for my family or for him. I still cannot believe that he is gone, but while trying to let it sink it, I like to think back to the better days we spent together.

I remember going to his house every Sunday after church when my siblings and I were little. My family and all of our cousins would show up every week without fail. My grandpa would cook a huge meal for all of us, and would force more food at us, even after we swore we couldn’t eat another bite. He lived next to a McDonald’s, so after the meal we would then walk through the drive thru later and get French fries. My grandpa barely ate, but always made sure everyone else was full. He was the most gracious, giving man I have ever met.

We also took a trip to the pumpkin patch every fall. My grandpa always loved feeding the animals in the petting zoo. My favorite memory from this was when he tried to feed a goat, but it ended up licking him on the mouth. We laughed about that every year since then. Did I mention that my grandpa was also the funniest man I have ever met? Because he was. He made strangers laugh, and I don’t think I know a single person that didn’t love him.

Whenever we would go out, he always made sure I had a jacket -- even if it was summer. And if I didn’t, he’d give me his, even if I wasn’t cold.

This week, preparing for my grandpa’s funeral has been crazy and so surreal. My mom bought poster boards to put pictures on for the service. All I could think was, “How can you possibly limit such a beautiful spirit and 76 years of life to six poster boards?”

It’s crazy to me how when someone dies, the world keeps going. You want to lay down and cry for a little while, but everyone around you seems perfectly fine. I guess that’s a sign that this world is not our home forever. We live here for a bit and then are sent to our permanent home upstairs -- at least this is what I believe. Even though my grandpa wasn’t a very religious man, I know where he is. It makes me smile to think that he is watching over me.

I wish everyone got the opportunity to know my grandpa. We all loved him, mostly because he would pass out 50 dollar bills at every birthday party, say some obscene joke and make everyone laugh for hours, or bring boxes of pizza to family gatherings even though my mom already made dinner.

This article doesn’t even touch on half of the impact my grandpa had on this world. He was a wonderful, kind, compassionate man, and I am blessed to have been a part of his life. I hope that he is proud of me and that I will continue to make him proud in my days to come.

I love you Grandpa Kitty, and I will miss you very much.