It is graduation season. During the next week or so, high schools throughout the Lower Valley will be graduating the Class of 2006.
It's always been striking to me how graduation ceremonies and Memorial Day are so close together on the calendar.
I remember my own high school graduation from Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Ore. It was not only memorable as a stepping stone in life, but also for the fact my grandfather flew out from Ohio to share the moment.
We showed him the ocean, the sand dunes, which were all new and exciting to him.
I was able to show him my stories in the school newspaper and he got to see my first, albeit so humble, car.
The weeks he spent with us could not have been more perfect.
It was such a good time that I later remarked to my mother that maybe I would go back to Ohio the following summer and visit him.
My mother, sisters and I did in fact make it back to Ohio the following summer.
But it was for my grandfather's funeral. A heart attack had claimed his life.
Little did I know that my last moments in high school would be the last moments I would spend with my grandfather.
Every time I cover Memorial Day and graduation ceremonies-and I've covered several in nearly six years as a reporter-a part of me remembers my Grandpa.
It's also a reminder to me to cherish loved ones.
After all, there's no way of knowing when they'll graduate from this life to the next.