Â Â From the time I was able to walk and talk, Grandpa was my hero. I had won over his stubborn yet loving heart. He called me Scooter. I was his third Grandchild but very spoiled by him. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t live but a few miles from my house so I spent time with them regularly. My mother and father both had full time jobs, so it was up to Grandma and Grandpa to watch me during the day. I always followed Grandpa around their property. (They had a few acres of land). I remember Grandpa taking me to their apple tree and letting me pick bag fulls of delicious apples. He would lift me up so that I could reach them. He had a few tractors and would put me on his lap and let me take control of the wheel. Grandma would make us lunch and we’d be right back outside again. I was drawn to Grandpa, he was a great man. I was always teased by him. Whether it was him hiding behind a tractor in the barn then jumping out to scare me or telling me I wasn’t very sneaky when I was trying to be, he always had a way to tease me. I used to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s very often. We would eat dinner then go get Dairy Queen. Grandma would tell me to get something small so that I could eat it all but Grandpa always let me get whatever I wanted. When it was bed time, Grandma would tuck me in but I just could not fall asleep because I was too excited to see what Grandpa and I would do the next day. Waking up to the smell of pancakes, eggs and bacon was normal. Grandma made the best pancakes ever. So Grandpa and I would get our fill then go for a couple mile walk at about 6 a.m. We did this every time I stayed the night. I always wondered why Grandpa would walk so far, nowÂ I know it was to simply clear his mind because neither of us talked much on these walks. As the years went by, I got closer and closer to Grandpa. I was Grandpa’s girl. One day when he was reading the paper I told him I was going to be a Police Officer (which I am going in a total different direction now). He looked at me with his loving smile and said “Well good, you be whatever you want to be.”Â Not long after that Grandpa got layed off work. He became very worried but did not let anyone see it. One day I saw a “For Sale” sign in the front yard of their house. Dad told me that Grandma and Grandpa were going to move back to Missouri, my heart was breaking. What would I ever do without Grandpa? One nightÂ Grandma and Grandpa came over and also stopped to visit my twoÂ Aunts and their family. (Later I found out that this was to say goodbye).Â I was nine years old and in third grade when I came home from school the next dayÂ and mom told me that Grandpa had gone missing. I remember every detail. I was scared, I didn’t understand why he had gone missing or where he went. Looking back, I don’t know why I did this or why I thought it would help but I ran down my neighborhood yelling “Graaaaandpa?!!” Maybe I thought it was another trick.Â All I knew was that I wanted to find my Grandpa. When dad came home from work he looked like he had seen a ghost. Told me that my brother, sister and I needed to go visit my other Grandma for awhile that night. I had no idea what was going on. So we stayed most of the night at my other Grandma’s house. I woke up to hearing my mom crying and my dad crying also. I walked out of the spare bedroom and saw my parents talking to my Grandma. Dad carried me to the car without saying a word and then went back in the house to grab my brother and sister. It was a silent drive home. When dad got us all inside the house he sat my sister and I down and said that Grandpa wasn’t coming back. I started crying because I knew that he had passed away. They found him in Missouri, in the barn of the house they were moving into. My whole family had made the decision that all of the Grandkids were going to be told that he passed away from a heart attack until we wereÂ old enough to understand what really happened. I remember leaving for Missouri the next day and crying the entire way. I was only nine but a nine year old understands that the man that had become her hero will never be with her again. The visitation and funeral were hard for me. I was pulled away from my Grandpa’s casket. At the funeral I gave a speech. How many nine year olds do you see giving a speech at a funeral?
Â Â When I was fourteen I found myself feeling very down, for no apparent reason. My dad had decided it was time for me to know what had really happened to my beloved Grandpa, in which I was still pretty hurt about. He told me that my Grandpa had not really died of a heart attack but he had committed suicide. I didn’t know what to say, just knew that this cleared some things up for me. I never asked dad how he did it but later found out on my own with help from other family members. He shot and hung himself from the rafters of the barn. The rifle was shot accidentally, the coroner said there was no way he would aim at his shoulder blade. He had the rope around his neck when the gun went off, the throw back from the gun knocked him off the ladder. So the cause of death was from the hanging, not bleeding t death from the bullet wound. Suicide and depression runs heavily in our family. Grandpa left notes that dad let me read so that I would have an understanding as to why he did this. I read that the place he was laid off from refused to give him the rest of the money they had promissed. He thought he was in financial trouble. He also mentioned that he was a burden on our family, which was not true at all but people with depression tend to feel that way. Even today I wish I would have known Grandpa felt this way, someone could have helped him. But I also realize that he had attempted suicide when he was eighteen, right after his mother had taken her life.Â This was a battle he had faced his entire life. I had my own depression problems a couple years back but realized that the pain I went through when Grandpa died would be the same pain my family and friends would have to face. I would fight the depression.
Â Â Grandpa has now been gone for almost ten years. There is not a day I don’t think about him and wonder if he would be proud of the young woman I have become. I cried the day of my graduation, not only because my high school days were over but because I knew he was there in spirit and was smiling that loving smile and saying “You did it Scooter.”