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A few days ago I'd heard that my paternal grandfather, Gramps, was diagnosed with Lymphoma and was going to have some tests done to see what treatment was required. Today I woke up and found out via email that he had died. I gather that it wasn't terribly unexpected to those around him, but it took me by surprise.

He lived to be eighty-eight, which was probably a good decade over his life expectancy. When I last saw him around a year ago, he had definitely slowed down, but still had a good quality of life. I visited him and my grandmother in Palm Springs, where they were spending the winter with my aunt and uncle. He had five kids, tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and had a good relationship with every one of them. He had a very good life, probably died with few if any regrets, and left all of us better off.

While there's some sadness that I'll never get to see him again, mostly I feel happy that he did have such a good life, and I feel grateful for his influence on me. In that spirit, I thought I'd share a few little stories.

As a kid, my favorite time of the year was summer, specifically the couple weeks I'd get to spend with my grandparents out in rural Vermont. My three siblings and at least six of my cousins would all come visit at the same time. By any measure I had a lot of freedom and independence as a kid, but Vermont was the pinnacle.

TREASURE BOX SECRETS: A Memoir based on a true story (How it all came about)

On The Mad Ink3r

It all started out with myself, my fiancé, and the unborn child that I have on the way. By the way he found the perfect name for her, Summer Ava Copeland. I had just left New York to come and pursue my career in writing on Campus at Full Sail University. Now, I was determined that I could handle it all alone, but I forgot that with having my own place would come a little trouble. Courtney, my boyfriend at the time was active in my life. I heard from him daily and he didn't really fail at trying to get my attention, because he was persistent and always found some type of determination.

When we first started dating, I was living in New York with my mother and he was in his cousin's closet sleeping on a little mat. I'm not sure how he kept that up, but his drive to get a better life for himself was very interesting to me. Anyway, he called me every part of the day to see what I was doing or to Skype with me. That was my first time meeting someone online and actually meeting them, and then living together.

I left from up North with everything that I needed, my brains, money, and beauty. Not even a month down the line I started missing home (NY) and wishing that I could take a road trip back to be with my mom and sister, but that wasn't going to happen. I didn't have money to waste like that on a plane ticket.

My standards started to lower a little, before I realized that I was doing everything that I said I wouldn't do. There was a guy living in my home, I was having sex, and we were practically playing house until stuff got real. I was scared about the situation, because all that was on my mind was to not get pregnant, but that was unfortunate. Before we even knew that I was pregnant, we got hit with an eviction notice because rent was three days late.

I started having a meltdown and thought that I was going to go homeless, but my father stepped in and helped. Courtney and him went half on the rent. I felt bad, because all the money I had I was spending on the comfort of our home after a couple of weeks when I got down South. There was even a past due balance for my school that needed to be paid, before I could even come on campus. Courtney went half with my dad on paying that bill. Something about my boyfriend paying for things didn't feel right, maybe because I was being a mother to my other exes....

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