It was the day time stood still. It was the day I knew nothing would be the same. It was the day I found out my grandfather had died.
It was in February 2015, after months of declining health and hospital stays, he was gone. The man who taught his granddaughters to be more of a man than any man was gone.
I grew up on the opposite side of the country from my grandfather, an almost 1200 mile difference. Yet no matter how far away I was, I was still his granddaughter. We went and visited practically every summer up until I turned 8 then the trips became farther and farther apart. The last time I saw my grandfather in person was the summer of 2013.
Not seeing my grandfather as much as other members in my family is something that has haunted me every day. I wish I had more time with him to get to know him, there was so much of his story I did not get to hear. There is so much of his story I will never get to hear.
Yet even though I didn't get that much time with him, I still have fond memories of the summers I spent in Bedford, Ohio.
I remember my grandfather's garage and how he would spend hours in there, I was never really sure what he was doing in there. I remember going out to his cabin with the family, and we slept in tents and in the bunk room in the back.
I remember having fires and setting off fireworks. I remember watching how my grandfather cared for my grandmother. I wasn't around him a lot as a kid, but he helped shape me into who I am today.
My grandfather taught all of us girls how to defend ourselves. He taught us how to not rely on a man for what we needed. My grandfather taught us that no matter how tough things got, we were always tougher. It may have been his old world ways that pushed us to those conclusions, but they were still necessary conclusions.
I remember the way my grandfather gave directions. He would tell you "turn left by the tree in front of the yellow house — you know where the Larson lived back in the 80s — well then you'll go straight until the bridge — the one you wrecked the car on — and then..." It was the history of the whole town, and some history I am sure even the town's historians were unaware of.
I remember the monster my grandfather had made up that lived in his basement. It made it worse that they lived a creepy 100-year-old house that had scratches and water stains descending into the basement. It made the story more believable when the dog would go downstairs and bark at the wall. It made the story a hundred times more believable.
I remember the neighbor's dog coming over to visit. It was a cute little wiener dog, whose name was Max. I loved that dog with all my heart. I would pick <ax up and sneak him into the house even though I was told numerous times not to.
I remember my grandfather's face every time he found out I had snuck the dog into the house. I remember when my grandfather's dog — Duke — and I remember how well he trained him. I remember how well he took care of him, almost like he was his kid. I remember when that dog died, and how upset my Grandfather was. I remember when he got a new dog — Duke Jr. — and how excited he was.
I may not have been around my grandfather as much as the other grandkids in my family, but my grandfather shaped me just as much as he shaped them. I could never be more thankful to have met him, even if it was only for a short time.