– Opening the coat closet, and seeing your volunteer firefighter’s jacket and hat hanging on a hook, always giving me a little fright

– Being pulled behind you on a trailer as we picked up firewood for your house

– Watching you paint intricate details on your wood pieces, as you were getting ready for a show

– The sound of your bass voice, as you sang next to me in church

– Coming out of the bedroom early in the morning, and seeing you hunched over the bar in the kitchen, reading your Bible by just the small overhead light

– Opening presents at Christmas, you holding the video recorder telling us to hold it up so you could see what you got us

– Riding on the dusty country roads as I rode with you while you delivered mail

– Watching you ride around the property on a riding lawn mower, checking on the builders, grandma standing on the back of the mower holding up your IV bag

– Sitting with you while you slept in your room, telling you about boring work gossip

– Saying goodbye one last time

Why today, of all days, it hurts so much that you’re gone, I don’t know. It could be the overwhelming stress of school bubbling over, making me tired and extra mopey. It could be that last night Xan asked me again about MY pawpaw, and all I have are a few pictures. I can’t actually take him to you.

I could, but it would be just a stone. He wouldn’t understand, and he’s too young. But maybe some day. But instead, he holds the small picture of you in the silver frame, and he listens to me talk about you.

12 years… and it feels like yesterday.