Grandpa and I have gotten pretty close in the last few years. We talked every couple of weeks - sometimes longer, sometimes less - but nothing was better than this year when the Seahawks swept the Superbowl. Grandpa (a lifelong Cowboys fan - even if 'that quarterback ain't worth nothing!') acquiesced that he could go for the Seahawks and even found the perfect hat:
I didn't even send it to him. I swear.
Grandpa had been there for almost every significant moment of my life. High school graduation, high school sports (he even stood in the stands and yelled 'Run Forrest Run' at me when I did track - because that wasn't horrifying or anything), college graduation. He made a trip over from Idaho to meet Will when we had our meet the family/engagement dinner. He instantly liked Will and let me know that it would be acceptable for me to marry him and have him be part of our family. When Will passed away four months later - Grandpa came to his memorial in MT. I don't think that he really knew what to say - he just hugged me and then tried to get me to eat. And eat. And eat. I think that's the way that he was able to show me he cared - by feeding me. After, he called me a couple of times a week, just to check in and make sure I was okay. I was obviously not okay - but having him call meant a lot. Probably because I don't think he'd ever called me directly before - ever. I was actually surprised that he had my number. We had always talked when I called there - one of those 'check in with your elders' kind of things.
Dad and I took a quick trip there this summer - I really wanted a chance to see him at home and have always thought that it's important to make the time to see family. Life can get so hectic and so busy, but as his death has reminded me yet again, you never know when someone isn't going to be there. I'm really grateful that Dad and I took that trip - not only did we get like 13 hours of daddy/daughter time time in the car (where he realized that I'm slightly less patient in the car than I was at 10 years old and that I will tell him to drive faster) but Grandpa got to show me around the house, show me his shop, and just generally show his granddaughter off to his friends. All things that I think are more important to grandparents than they would ever admit out loud.
It had never crossed my mind that my Grandpa wouldn't be there to see me walk down the aisle, or to have kids of my own. He's been a constant fixture in my life forever - and he taught me how to fish (AKA letting me cast into the branches over and over and over again until he just started giving me the crappy lures because he knew I was just going to lose them anyways), and taught me to shoot (and discovering that although I'm right handed - my left eye is dominant which makes for a complicated aiming situation).
Thank you Grandpa for the life lessons - especially: 'don't drive drunk', 'Run Forrest Run', and 'Romo sucks'. You will be missed and loved every day.