I’ve thought long and hard about what to say. If there’s anything to say at all. How do I sum up a life, or just our time together, can I even scratch the surface of it? Doubtful. But some things deserve a tribute (if this can even be considered that), no matter how small.
I was fortunate enough to grow up alongside my hero, and even more fortunate enough to realize it before it was over. I knew my whole life that he was special and he was the first man I ever knew to be bigger than just himself.
He taught me so much, and without even knowing it, I don’t think. He truly is the reason I get up each time I fall, and the reason my standards are so high- for both myself and the people I surround myself with. I was always told the same stories growing up: he was the quintessential picture of The Depression, holes in clothes, dirt on face, rundown house in the midst of other rundown houses, no father to show him how. But through all that, the instinct to survive kicked in, and not just survive but THRIVE. He wasn’t just going to make it, it was going to be worth it. He never quit anything and always gave 100% to whatever he was doing.
In my eyes, he was everything a man should be. A well-rounded person who could fix EVERYTHING and figured out how even if it stumped him. He served his country for 30 years, was there for his family, and was one of the most intelligent people I know. I can’t even tell you how much I loved his laugh, the real one when something was truly funny. Through his life he touched and helped mold so many people, its very humbling to think about. Especially since he did all of it without so much as a second thought. He really was just THAT person.
It’s comforting to me that the same person I used to run crying to with my broken toys, is the same person who would go get pie with me when we were bummed, is the same person who is a highly decorated member of the US Navy, is the same person that I call Grampa. I hope he knew how proud I am to call him mine, and how much I love him. My heart is so broken but I know that if he were here, he’d expect me to hold my head up and push through it. Because that’s what he taught me.