Warren Hartsog (Gramps)

Gramps,

At times, it's so hard to believe how long it's been since you passed on. I guess part of the reason is because I always feel that you're with me. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you.

I was very lucky to have you in my life ¡V my surrogate father. What I remember most about you are the things we would do together such as put flags on the graves of veterans and collect toys for the annual America Legion Christmas party. I also miss our great political debates. I remember how one of our arguments over Jessie Helms actually seemed to pull you through when the doctors those you weren't going to make it.

Another thing that will always stick with me is knowing that you carried a little bit of me wherever you went. Granny showed me your wallet and you had pictures of me starting when I was a baby, running up all the way through college. I couldn't believe you'd kept every one of my school pictures in your wallet.

I want to thank you for never being ashamed of me. I know that the circumstances of how I came to be upon this earth were not ideal. It would have probably been much easier for you and Granny to have talk my mother into giving me up for adoption rather than helping her raise me. But you were never ashamed. You proudly claimed me as your granddaughter and would show me off every chance you got.

I have to admit that it is pretty amazing that I didn't feel odd about my upbringing ¡V that it never really occurred to me that I didn't have a ¡§dad¡¨ like other kids. And I have to give you the credit for that. The loving home that you and Granny provided for me has made me the person I am today. And if I do say so myself, I think I turned out pretty damned good!

Words can't express how much you mean to me and how much it pained me to see you suffer in the final years. When you died, I saw your spirit leave your body. Although I was sad and grieving for myself, I was happy for you. You had been released from a prison of pain, suffering and sickness to pass on to a better place. That gave me comfort during my grieving.

There are still times when I wish you were physical here with me. But I know you watch over me and guide me in a new way now. Thanks for looking out for me and watching over me. I'll love you always and forever!

Heather