Everyone in this world has experienced a loss. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a pet, or even just the loss of some object, each person on Earth has become familiar with the feeling of loss.

A little over a year ago, my grandpa experienced a sudden and very unexpected stroke. My parents waited a few days to tell me because it happened just before my varsity rowing senior night and my senior prom, and they knew that he would want me to be able to enjoy those things without worrying about everything else. I remember the day my mom told me and the emotions that followed, and even writing this article a year later, tears still prick my eyes and my throat seems to close a little.

The week that followed was tough between trying to balance the final weeks of my senior year of high school and spending time and being there for my family that was 11 hours from the home that we lived in. I was lucky to have teachers who understood and helped me through that time. However, there are things that I wish I could've said to my grandpa before he left his home here on Earth.

Thank you.

Thank you for always loving and supporting me, no matter what my dreams were or how many times they changed. Thank you for loving your family and raising your children to be good parents. You were an encouragement in my life, and I will never be able to repay you for supporting me through every situation I could've ever been in. Our family misses you, but each and every one of us is thankful for your unconditional love throughout each and every day of our lives.

You not only did great things for our family, but you were always sure to give back to your community.

You not only cared about us, but those around you who were not as fortunate as you, and I will always aspire to be more like you in that aspect.

It is truly an honor to have you as a part of my family, and we will forever be thankful for the legacy that you left us. Thank you for loving and supporting our family and we are so proud of all that you have done for us. You are truly someone we can look up to.

I later found out in a letter that my great aunt wrote to me that she had spoken to him shortly before his passing.

She told me that he had told her how proud he was of me, how proud he was that I was about to start my freshman year of college and how proud he was that I was graduating from a challenging private school.

She told me that he wanted to come to my graduation, which was something that meant a lot to me because he did not travel anymore.

She said he had every intention of coming to my graduation and watching me walk across the stage and receive my diploma.

Grandpa, I love you and miss you.

It's been a long, tough year, but I know you will forever be proud of me and our family. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a good person and for supporting me. Thank you for being the person that I look up to. I love you.