A little over a week ago, I learned the news my grandfather was ill with COPD. I hadn’t given it much thought at the time. I knew he was in the hospital, and my parents were on their way from Nevada to visit him in Northern Idaho where he and my grandma lived.

I learned of his death Jim earlier yesterday morning. Naturally, it put me in a state of reflection.

My earliest memories of this particular grandparent followed a moment of sadness I had at the age of about five or six. I had returned home from a church event where I learned a girl in our group had lost her grandfather and was distraught. It got me sad. I often empathize with others who are sad, but it also made me sad remembering both of my grandfathers passed before I was born.

My mom, in an attempt to comfort me, told me that was not the case. She had a step dad who was also my grandpa.

A few hours of Atari later and I was feeling better. I received a Christmas present in the mail that year from my grandma Frankie. It was the first I learned of her.

At the age of 14, we moved to Idaho and lived with them. I slept in a tent in their backyard. Grandpa was a pretty nice guy for sure. However, as life would have it, he drove long haul trucks for a living and the summer we stayed there, he was mostly on the road.

By August, we had moved on, and that was the last I saw of Grandpa Jim. I’ve lived in Nebraska, Nevada, Kansas and now Texas. I never took the time to get to know him, and now, it’s too late. I grieve more for my mother who lost her stepfather. That empathy streak is going to get the better of me throughout this process I am sure.

Happy birthday to Jim Grokett, Marty Herron, and Shannon Grady, all of Sherman; Shundeatrica Wroten; Barbara Kay Powell of Howe; Connie Shaw LeBlanc of of Plano; Jerry Romain of Garland; Barbara School Stevens of Dallas;