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My grandfather, was my hero. He always has been. He has always been my one true constant in my life. My north star. He made me feel safe and loved. He encouraged me and believed in me in any endeavor I chose. He was always proud of me and never showed disappointment even when I made mistakes. I think he knew it was only temporary and it was a learning lesson when I did mess up. The freedom he gave me to be open to him about my life, without judgement, was one of the many gifts he gave me. Another gift was acceptance, for me, to be myself. He loved me unconditionally, from the moment I was born until the day his soul left this planet. This, is rare, for me.

I never wanted to discuss again my history, however, in this time since he has been gone, I have learned how so many family members tried to remove me from my home, to save me when I was growing up. Even though these attempts were unsuccessful, I always knew my family as my protectors, and I could feel the unconditional love. A part of me wishes they could have taken me, but I know within struggle, lies a lesson that builds a person to be better. The trying, is the part that matters. I was wanted. My grandfather was one of those people, a hero, wanting to save me.

My grandpa had a twinkle in his eye I have yet to see in any other human I have met on this earth. A twinkle that seemed to incite an inside joke, rebelliousness, or the possibility for getting into some trouble. He had stories for days, which I honestly never tired of hearing. In fact, while he was in the hospital, I specifically remember asking him to tell me a story. He was taken aback, as if no one had asked him for a story in a while. I remember he said “Why would you want to hear one of those?” to which I responded, “Because I love them.” His last story was about a mural on the wall of the dam he used to work at. He told me it had been drawn in chalk and after so many years, it remained. We both were in awe a chalk drawing had lasted so long in a dam. I wish I could remember all of his stories, all of his jokes, but sadly I won’t remember them all forever. As we grow old our memories fade. This is why photos have always been important to me. Photos, handwriting, clothing items kept safe to preserve the scent, these things are what we have to remember when our minds fail us. These things are most important. I wish I had more.

I have struggled in these past few days and it is as if the earth is darker now. It has lost a shining light, losing my grandfather. I have lost my guiding light in life, my north star. My grandpa was my true father figure, always there with open arms and to give me advice. Without him I am lost in the dark. Blind.

My only comfort is knowing that he is in a place where there is only love and peace, surrounded by family long past, welcoming him with open arms. Heaven took back the angel they lent us, their north star.

Grandpa, I hope you knew, just how much you meant to me. How loved you were, and how incredibly missed you are. The wake in my heart will only be filled again, when we meet again in heaven, and I can hear you say “well hiya kid!”, with a signature bear hug taking my breath away. I look forward to that, long in the future, after I have passed on your legacy to my own grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

I love you.

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