My grandfathers death was the first to hit our family in my generation. He suffered from Alzheimers Disease, so I never had a close relationship with him. This doesnt mean I didnt love the man; everyone in our family did. But as we went through the phone calls from friends, the wake, and the funeral, I really learned a lot about him, and in turn, about life. During my period of mourning, I was the most upset not because we had lost a loving, caring man; I was much more upset because a horrible disease destroyed my randfathers life before I could get to know what a strong willed and hard working man he was.
This brave man is the same who won a Silver Star in World War II for risking his life to save a general. This honest man is the same who switched to a lower paying job because the employees told him he didnt have to work unless the boss was around. This persevering man supported eight daughters and a wife on a plumbers salary. I simply loved the wrong man. So through this time of tragedy, he taught me, even without him knowing it, things that I will carry with me throughout life.
I now realize that you shouldnt take anyone for granted, no matter who he is or how close he is to you. Life is precious and short. I want to know the man who made sure his children grew up right, who was brave and true, and who always tried to make things better. I can identify with this warm and caring man only through stories, pictures, and continually working to improve myself, because thats what he did. Id be honored to be considered like him. When I look back on the winding path that is my life, I see that my grandfather helped shape the most important turn.