Dear Grandpa,

I'm sorry I haven't called you recently. I've been busy with real life, I guess, and never had the chance to get around to it. Lately, I haven't had a lot of time to do anything. Making sure to keep busy though.

Somehow, I knew this was your last year. It was hard knowing that, but still having a normal life. Some mornings I would wake up and think "Are you still around?" And others, it would stay out of my head. Scariest thing in the world to imagine. Having someone you love gone from your life entirely. I've been trying not to think about it, to try and save me some strain. But it hasn't really been working.

I was driving with the Aunts, two summers ago. I always found it interesting to have them all in one place, just to hear them talk. I'd learn more things there, than I ever did out in the world. We were driving to your place, so that I'd get a quick visit before I went on to Regina. Scott was sleeping and I was just laying there, trying to sleep. Cheryl started talking about how Grandma wasn't doing any better. And eventually, they went to you.

I can't even imagine what it was like, to live your life. I knew that you'd never had an easy time, but I found myself on the verge of tears just listening. Younger than twelve and you were burying your sister's child. The single thought alone brings up nightmares to me. I never could have done it. I don't think I'd be able to survive that.

I used to be really naive about war. About the horrors that it was and the pain that it brought people. It seemed like a fun game to me. I remember finding your medals downstairs. They were hidden away under a whole bunch of other boxes. I brought them out and tried to put them on. Then I ran upstairs to show everyone. It didn't make sense to me, when everyone had me go right back downstairs. Someone tried to explain it to me, but I didn't get it.

It makes sense to me now. There is no way I can feel the pain you felt. There is no way I'll ever relive those horrors that you experienced. But at least I understand them.

War is a scary concept for me. The fact that there is someone else on the other side of the field who is going to kill you, if you don't kill them. That someone could possibly kill another because of a hunk of land. Or anything for that matter. I was going to ask you about it, at one point. But I'm glad I never tried to.

You've had a scary life. A hard and scary life. I wish you could have had some peace in the end. But you didn't even get that. I cannot remember a time when you weren't sick, in the hospital or feeling well. Nothing seems fair about it. Your body wouldn't work properly and your mind was never at ease.

I am glad you played golf. Maybe the one thing that I ever actually connected with you on. You could get so frustrated playing with me that you just quit. I couldn't figure out how to hit the ball or any of the rules of the game. It would take forever for us to just get nine holes done. I remember how Scott and I loved that stupid golf cart. We never could drive it, but we'd sit in it for hours and just pretend to drive. Or we'd climb all over it like fools. I can't remember a single time we didn't get scolded for it. But man was that fun.

When Scott and I were a few years older, I can picture us riding bikes though Binscarth. And we'd never bring our helmets. But we'd be sure to do stupid things. I remember racing across the road, Scott right behind me and I just jumped off. He barreled right into my bike and crashed. And then you and my dad drove by in the golf cart, ordering us right back home. Of course, I got in trouble.

The last time I saw you was a year and a half ago. The summer of 2002. It wasn't much of a visit. Scott and I came from Auntie Moe's place. I was going to camp with some friends in a few days and I don't really remember much of that trip. I do remember crying a lot, as I always do when I leave Binscarth. You both were standing at the door, crying and waving to us... That's the first time in my life I'd ever seen you cry. And that's my last memory of you. Me waving good-bye to you in a car, on my way to camp. You and Grandma standing there, waving back, crying.

I'm sorry we didn't come out to see you guys this year. Mom and her new job killed any chance of us going out as a family. And spent most of the summer away with friends. I really regret not going to see you guys. I wish I had stopped thinking about my stupid stuff, to go and see you two. We were planning to fly over for Christmas, but that kind of fell through too. I'm almost glad we didn't. I know you hate being seen when your "weak" and I don't know if I could have taken seeing you laying there in a hospital bed.

But I really miss you. I wish I had a chance to at least say good-bye. Or hug you. I think I'm finally just a bit taller than you. It's really hard to stop thinking about you.

I was the only one awake, when we got the call. As soon as it rang, I knew exactly what it was. I answered and heard Auntie Moe's voice. She was crying and I couldn't tell if she was breathing. She was trying to ask for my mom and I stumbled towards her room and was mumbling for my mom when she woke up. Handing her the phone, I just went to sit down. And didn't get up for a long time. Not until I realized I hadn't moved and I couldn't feel anything.

Sometimes, I still can't.

I miss you, Grandpa. I hope, at least now, you can get some rest.

Your loving Grandson,
Steven

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