My grandpa was simply the best. There is no way I can describe what an incredible person he was. He seemed to be the only grandpa alive who was still "a kid" inside. It is because of these reasons that my grandpa Chuck has made an impact on how I live my life today.
One of the best memories I have of my grandpa is going to his house every holiday. My family would enter my grandparent's huge immaculate house and be overtaken with the strong thick smell of my grandpa's pipe. As soon as we entered, my little sister and I would run directly to my grandpa and fight for his attention. He was always sitting on the couch reading his newspaper. He would smile as soon as he saw us running towards him. It would be at that moment that our attention would be diverted over to the huge licorice jar that laid just in front of my grandpa on the coffee table.
Immediately we'd beg for licorice in whiny voices, hoping to have been felt sorry for. My grandma would intervene and respond, "Wait until after dinner." A few moments later my grandpa would reach in and grab some licorice and then lie back and continue reading the paper.
We would stare in jealousy and wish we were older so that we could eat licorice before dinner too. Just as we had lost hope, my grandpa would sneak a few pieces to us behind the paper while no one was watching and smile at us.
We couldn't believe there was a grown-up on Earth that was so cool! We were almost too astonished to eat the licorice. He made a child feel as if they were understood and not so meaningless. He made us feel recognized and important. Most adults made us feel so young as if it was a bad thing. I still hold this event close to my heart today and I feel that I am nicer to children because of it. He helped me to realize that the slightest positive action can really change a child's life for the better.
Another memory I have of my grandpa is waking up early one morning to voices in my living room. I thought I must have been dreaming because no one in their right minds would be up this early on a weekend. I must have been 6am. I ripped myself out of my warm, cozy bed and crawled into the freezing cold living room. After struggling to open my eyes, I could finally see my grandparents there with my mom. All of the sudden, it was bright and warm. I ran to my grandparents and hugged them. I couldn't believe they were at my house. We would usually go to their house. My mom said they were going garage-saling and wouldn't be back for a few hours. "Promise to get me something?" I begged. After agreeing, they left. My grandpa arranged the newspapers on our coffee table, said goodbye, and tickled my toes. Then they walked out the front door.
A few hours later my grandpa had a stroke. He was at a garage sale when it happened. He was taken to the hospital and he died soon thereafter. He was just fifty-nine years young.
My entire family was devastated. No one could believe that a person so young a heart was gone. Although I mourned his death so much, I did have one big reason to thank God that day. I was given one last chance to see my grandpa.
I was the last of five grandchildren to see him. Now he has over 15 more that he never got to know and they never can have the chance to meet him. Had I not woken up that morning, I would have no final memory of my grandpa, the world's greatest man in my eyes. He was the person that taught me how much a relationship can mean to someone and how much it can make someone happy if you just acknowledge them. There are so many things he taught me, I just wish he knew how much.