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20 years ago...

It's hard to believe tomorrow (September 7) will mark the 20th anniversary of my grandfather's passing. He was a handsome man, incredibly smart and a veteran of WWII who received 2 purple hearts and a silver star.

I was only 15 when he passed. I was very close to him, but wish I had been able to learn more about him. I have many wonderful memories of him from him driving me to school every day when I was in elementary school, the little songs he used to sing to us, his athletic shorts with dress socks and shoes, the list goes on and on. He was the first person to teach me how to use a computer. A Commodore 64.

I also recall how difficult it was watching him deteriorate as his illness worsened to the point he became almost childlike. During the summer before he passed, I remember him randomly starting to cry and telling me to never use drugs. Or his dislike for the garden guy on tv. Or how he wanted a piece of the meatloaf my mom had made him, and I was such a dumb kid, when my grandma told me to put it in the microwave for 35 minutes, I did. Needless to say it burnt. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried because I thought I had let him down. I felt the same way the night he died. I laid in the floor of his hospital room and fell asleep and didn't get to say goodbye. But I know he knew I loved him.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents on the weekends and during the summer. The summer I was diagnosed with asthma was no different. I recall having probably one of my first asthma attacks while being at their house. My grandfather was no stranger to asthma. I of course was terrified and starting to get excited. I remember my grandfather standing over me with his booming voice telling me it would be okay and to stay calm. That getting upset would only make it worse. To this day, I can still hear his voice telling me it will be okay.

I miss you so much Papaw! I love you!

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