It got me thinking, too, of my grandfather. My father's Dad - he passed away in 1998, when I was 19, just short of my 20th birthday. It was a difficult time for me - I had not been feeling well, and was having tests done to me. Soon after, I would be diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and given a CPAP, which really helped change my life. But I was kind of out of it when my grandfather passed - and I was very young. Quite unaware of what a hole in my life he would leave; I took for granted that my grandparents were around. I was lucky enough to grow up with not only my paternal grandparents in my life, but my maternal grandparents as well. I just took for granted that most people had two sets of grandparents.
He was a big man - a former police officer and sheriff, and he loved to read. I remember being fascinated by his bookshelves as a child - he always had interesting tomes of literature on them. I definitely mourn his loss for our family, and for me personally - I mourn that he never got to see me as a grown man, who married and eventually had a baby son - his great-grandson. I miss conversations we never got to have; I miss not being able to pick his brain, and learn more lessons on adulthood from him. I have a lot of regret that I was a typical foolish teen, and perhaps even a bit disdainful of my elders. Being young is about being silly and making mistakes, and hindsight is 20/20. There was time, when I was young, when older and wiser people told me "Someday, you'll miss this time." Someday came, and hit me like a ton of bricks - but then I also remembered the good times we had. The laughs. The smiles - I remember his face on Christmases - with all of us grandkids around. I still see it when I close my eyes and think of him - and I'm reminded that he was happy, and full of love for his family. And I know that. So, even though I can't have another burger with him, he's still there, in my mind, every time I spend time with my family now.
My maternal grandfather isn't doing so well these days, either. I'm going to have a burger with him this week, I think. Introduce him to his great-grandson, and spend some time with him. Life is so cruelly beautiful sometimes, and I want to remember it all - good and bad. And still smile.