I worshiped him. There is just no other word that explains my feelings for him. I remember eating Cheerios with heavy cream with him because that's what he liked to eat. I remember just being with him. But the truth is, as the years have gone by, I've forgotten more and more about him.
He died when I was still very young. I think I was 8 or 9. Someone took me for a walk and told me he was dead and that I would never see him again. It took a few days, but it was the first time that I was completely, totally devastated by a person's death. At one point I wrote a letter to God asking for Grandpa Gilliland back. There was a large part of me that was sure that God would give me my wish. When he didn't I think I truly understood the finality of death.
But the most important thing that Grandpa Gilliland taught me was that I was loved. He loved me entirely and completely. And I felt the same thing for him. I still feel it all these years later when I think of him.