Simple memories are now treasurers

It was a normal Saturday afternoon. My dad and uncles were at my grandparents? house, building a new deck. My mom and sister were at hair appointments and my grandma was at work.

I had just driven home for the weekend and decided to go straight to my grandpa and grandma?s house. After sitting outside for a while to catch up with my family and watch the progress of the deck project, I headed inside.

My grandpa was sitting in his chair and watching TV. He asked me some questions about school and after a few minutes I went to the kitchen to find something to eat and turn on the K-State football game. Grandpa came to the kitchen to get a snack too, and soon my grandma came home with lunch.

Those few minutes alone with Grandpa were so normal; I had spent many afternoons or evenings sitting in the living room watching TV with him. I had no idea that Saturday afternoon would be the last. My grandpa passed away the very next weekend.

In the past week, I have had a lot of memories of my grandpa flash through my mind. Many of them were common occurrences that didn?t really seem significant at the time, but now are some of the things I miss the most.

I miss being greeted by Grandpa when I would walk into my grandparents? house.

I miss knowing Grandpa was watching at the window to make sure I got going OK when I would leave by myself.

I miss popping a bag of popcorn and knowing that Grandpa would help me eat it.

I miss sitting in the living room and waiting for Grandpa to ask me, ?What are we watching?? before I would change the TV channel (and I will never forget the one time he specifically requested we watch ?Drake and Josh?).

And at Christmas in a month, I?m going to miss looking over to see Grandpa opening a present before it?s his turn.

These memories, along with photos and home videos, will keep Grandpa alive in my heart and mind. Knowing Grandpa is in heaven, completely pain free, eases my sadness.

As I was looking through pictures for my grandpa?s memorial, I realized how few recent pictures I have with my family.

At the time, snapping a picture of my grandpa sitting at the kitchen table or lounging in his chair on Christmas day was just me playing with my camera. It?s now too late to take another picture with my grandpa, and those photos are priceless.

But there are still so many pictures I can take with my mom, dad, sister, Grandma, Grandpa Kauf?man, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

I love photography, but to me, pictures are worthless if they don?t mean anything to the photographer. Even though it?s not quite the new year, my grandpa has inspired my New Year?s resolution. In 2014, I want to try to take as many meaningful pictures as I can, especially ones that include people I care about.

Losing my grandpa has also made me realize that I?ve taken a lot of people and events for granted. Tomor?row is not promised for neither me nor any of my family and friends. Therefore, every second I get to spend with my loved ones is a precious gift from God.

As Thanksgiving approaches, despite the sadness I have felt this past week, I have so much to be thankful for.

I?m thankful for every memory I have with my grandpa.

I?m thankful for all of the people who showed so much love and support to my family and me.

I?m thankful for the family and friends I still get to live life with.

And I?m really thankful for you for reading my column. It means a lot to me. I hope you have many things to be thankful for this holiday season.