What a strange, saddening month it has been. As you read a few weeks ago, I recently lost my younger brother in a tragic hit-and-run accident. Our family was still dealing with that tremendous grief when my grandfather — who I dedicated a previous column to during his fight against cancer – passed away Oct. 18 at Red Bud Regional Care Center.
It’s going to take some time to heal and most of all I pray for my mom to continue to have the incredible strength to deal with the loss of a son and a father within a shockingly short period of time. The outpouring of support from friends and family provides more strength and healing than they could possibly know.
For that, we’re sincerely thankful.
As I hesitantly went through my grandfather’s belongings, which I’d secured in a storage shed after we moved him to a nursing home last month, I opened a large, plastic toolbox to take inventory.
One could imagine my surprise (and tears) when I discovered a large binder that contained all of my Republic-Times columns since I first started writing in 2011. He had cut them out of the paper every other week and saved them. The feeling of realizing he did that left me without words. It was truly moving.
Having said that, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing my column for the R-T over the past five years, I felt that after grandpa’s passing it was time to close this chapter and give an opportunity to another young, ambitious writer who will be absolutely thrilled when editor Corey Saathoff sends them the email letting them know they’re hired.
Trust me, I know that feeling quite well, and I can’t thank Corey and Kermit (and the rest of the awesome staff) enough for providing me such a fun, valuable experience of writing a column for an award-winning newspaper. It was truly an honor and something that made my grandfather proud. Thanks so much to all of you.
I especially feel comfortable moving on from my gig as a columnist at this point in time because, amazingly, in my very first column, I gave a special shout out to one of my favorite people in this world – my grandpa.
I wanted nothing more than to impress him and toward the end, as we both fought back tears, he told me he was so proud of me… proud of the man I’d become. I owe any ounce of success I’ll ever have to that man. He was always, I mean always, in my corner. Without his rock-solid support, I’d have nothing.
The memory of him grabbing my hand, telling me he loved me and that he was proud to be my grandpa is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
Before I go, I’d like to thank you, the reader, for digesting all the facets of my mind for the last five years. Thank you for the feedback, even if you disagreed with what I had to say. My political columns sometimes triggered passionate responses. But hey, this is America, right? I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to express my thoughts.
I hope that in the future, when generations look back, they’ll get a kick out of my contributions to this awesome newspaper. I mean that. Monroe County is so, so incredibly lucky to have this gem in their mailbox every Thursday.
My heart is full as I end this final column. Farewell, my friends. It has been an honor, a privilege and a pleasure to write for you.