My grandfather, William J. Haag, passed away at the age of 91 on Tuesday, October 21st.
Bill, as he was known to almost everyone, was a wonderful man and the world is a better place for having had him in it. I will always remember him as a kind man and a person who was always happy to sit with me (no matter what age I was) and talk about the Brewers.
Over the last few years, I did not spend as much time with him as I would have liked to or should have. I don’t believe that I am alone in the fact that I have a hard time dealing with age and have a hard time seeing people as they become less and less healthy. It is selfish of me, but I like to remember people at their best, so it becomes harder for me to spend time with people as they become less healthy in the later years of their lives. I am sorry that I didn’t see him more in the past few years and months, of that I am certain, but it is something that I have to live with.
Bill was the only grandfather that I knew during my life, as my mother’s father passed away when I was less than a year old and I never got a chance to really know him, so as I was growing up, everything that I knew about what a grandfather should be was because of him, and it’s safe to say that I believe he was teaching me all of the right things about what kind of man to be once you have grandchildren of your own.
Being one of 36 grandchildren is a situation where you would think that you could be easily forgotten, but that was never the case with my grandfather. Whenever I would see him and my grandmother, they knew what was going on with my family and loved spending time with us.
I never really know what to do when people pass away except to try and celebrate their lives and do something in honor of them. So, I have decided that one of the things that I will do for (and with) my grandfather is to run 1 mile, over the next 30 days, for every year of his life. I never ran with my grandfather, in fact I can’t recall ever even played a single sport with him, but now that he is gone, I want to take some time and think of him as much as I can and envision that he is running with me.
Today, I started by running 9+ miles (1 for every decade of his life,) and will keep running for (and with) grandpa for until I run 91 miles for him. I am certain that grandpa would want me to keep doing the things that make me happy and right now, being out running and thinking of him, definitely does that.
I love you grandpa, and I’ll never forget you.