For 35 years I have had my Grandpa with me for every milestone in my life. He walked me to school my first day of school & everyday after that until I went to High School, then he drove me until I got my license. We walked to Church every Sunday morning. He lived 3 houses down from us & was always there. If I needed a ride, Papa Hank was the person I called. He had nicknames for all of us growing up. I was the first born, so I was & always  have been the favorite to him. I have no trouble telling people this & neither does he. I gave him his 1st 4 great-grandchildren as well. My Papa loved to sit on his porch & talk to the people that walked past. He loved to take drives downtown just to tell us stories about his time on the Mounted. He was a Police Officer for 26 years in Detroit. He was retired before before I was born, so he had plenty of time to spend with me. He woke up every morning & off we went for fresh bread & donuts from the neighborhood bakery, then to MK Sales to get his lottery tickets for the 3 & 4 digit, Tom’s Hardware was next for whatever project he was working on, the Shell gas station for his daily fill up (that only cost 1.00 because he never used much gas), then to run errands for my Grandma or whichever family member needed something done. He loved to drive.  He was always at my games, no matter what the season or weather. When my parents decided to move 2 hours away, he was heartbroken. He stopped talking to my parents for a while, but every weekend he made the trip up north to watch my brother play weekend baseball tournaments, football games, & basketball tournaments. We spent summers up north at their cottage & he always took us for Icecream, then down to the docks to see the yachts. He was always involved. As I started having kids, the same was true. Grandparents Day,  my oldest being crowned for Princess of Homecoming when she was 6, all of my kids Baptisms & Communions…until this year.  He started getting sick last fall & stopped driving daily. He had to go on dialysis & it was helping, but he refused to give up his donuts. Then at Christmas I noticed the change. I knew he had cancer. I watched my Mom die from cancer for 2 years. I’ve seen the signs. I tried to tell my Grandma, but she wouldn’t listen. In April we found out that he had lung cancer. It was too far gone to do anything & with his age, there wasn’t anything they could do for him. I cried. & I cried. & I cried. I had already lost my Mom to cancer & my Dad’s Mom to dimentia. I couldn’t handle losing 1 more of the 5 most important people I’ve had since I was born. I swear they were all supposed to live forever! Then I seen my own childrens reactions to what I was going through. They had already lost my Mom. They were only 11,7,5,&3. Here was their Mom crying because she’d had 35 years with her Grandpa?  That’s when it hit me. My poor kids would never know what it was like to have someone so special that was always there. My Dad moved away after my Mom passed & hardly ever comes to visit;  she passed in away in our house & he can’t stand to be here. My children have no idea what it’s like to be mad at me & run 3 houses down & tell Grandma & Papa “they are moving in because mom & dad are mean!” My kids will never experiance those things, because there isn’t anyone to do it for them. Here I sit in tears for myself & my kids. I am losing my Papa, who has always meant the world to me & I am crying for my kids, because they’ve never experienced that.  He is fading, but his spunk is still there. He actually ate a White Castle slider that I took him on Monday. It was the first thing he’d had in 3 days. That made me smile. He knew who I was & all of my kids.  He still has his dry sense of humor. He is Frank from Everybody Loves Raymond & yes, my Grandma is Marie. I will always have a little piece of him when I watch that show.  & I can laugh. I know that’s what he would want. So I am preparing for him to pass away to  be with my Mom. He never got over losing my Mom at such a young age. I have been lucky to have him all these years & I am thankful for every memory I have. Cancer can take his body, but it cannot take his love or his laugh in my heart. He is truly a great man & I will forever be thankful that I was blessed with him most of my life.  I can try not to be sad, because I have enough memories to last the rest of my life.  This picture is of him & I last Nov. for his 86th birthday. I will cherish this picture forever. It’s the last one of him before he got really sick.  & I can’t help but laugh because this is his picture face!lol