My grandfather's death was the first to hit our family in my generation. He
suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, so I never had a close relationship with him. This
doesn't mean I didn't 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
grandfather's 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 didn't have to work unless the boss was around.
This persevering man supported eight daughters and a wife on a plumber's 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 shouldn't 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 that's what he did. I'd 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.
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