My grandfather was my champion. In the two weeks they visited us each year in our nasty section 8 duplex, crowded with second-hand furniture, he would sit and patiently coach me at chess for hours. He would bring me college textbooks on astronomy and physics from the classes he taught and have conversations with me about wormholes and quantum physics for hours. He fostered the thought processes of a hyper ADD girl, rather than looking down on my for being a spaz. He sent me magazines with logic problems and told me it was okay to like math even though I was a girl. He taught me the way that adults were frustrated with my hyperactivity and inquisitive mind weren't the only thing I should consider when forming my self-esteem: he gave me license to be different and still be okay with 'me.' He was my advocate when my father was a mean drunk, and he stuck up for me, even from Wisconsin. He made me feel like I mattered at the most crucial times. He passed away moments ago, now free from the shell that lost its lucidity a decade ago. The Alzheimer's and cancer are gone and he's once again Bill Bates, brilliant, caring, hilarious man. He's on the other side, and I'd love some prayers to be spoken or unspoken for him as he makes the transition. Thank you all!