Grandpa

Dear Grandpa,

You died about 4.5 years ago and much has happened since then. I don’t think that I have told you about all of it. In fact I am sure that I never told you that they fired me the day of your funeral. Didn’t tell you about the text messages and emails that they sent me during the funeral asking me to call in. My phone was off so I didn’t get them during the service. It was only when I got back to mom and dads that I discovered them. They called me again and told me that they they were sorry that you had died and that I shouldn’t come in the next day.

I haven’t aired this sort of dirty laundry here, at least not this story. I haven’t shared it for a variety of reasons but for some reason today feels like an appropriate time to share some of it.  I took the call in the car and said what I had to say. Then I walked into the house and looked at my father. He has your blue eyes you know. I didn’t say anything about it. I didn’t mention it because it wasn’t that important. He had lost his father. Just a short time earlier we had stood graveside and he had told us about how you were his hero and how much he would miss you.

How could I tell him. I know my father and I knew that he would try to comfort me. I knew that he would say fuck ‘em and tell me that I was better off.  All true and all accurate. I had been trying to get out of there so they made it easier. But the moment wasn’t about me. It was about my father. Grandma was long since gone and so was Uncle Jimmy. Once you died that meant that dad was an orphan, albeit a 60 something year old orphan, but an orphan nonetheless. I didn’t know how he would feel. I mean I knew that he would miss you terribly but I didn’t know if it would be made worse by not having Uncle Jimmy around. There are things that siblings understand about parents that no one else can get, not even a spouse.

So I walked inside, picked up my daughter and hugged her tight. Her brother came over and grabbed my hand and tugged on it. It seemed surreal, you were gone, the construction on the house wasn’t close to being completed and I had two small children. I did my best to hold a poker face, but you know that it is not something that I am very good at it. You and dad were/are card players. Maybe it is more accurate to say that dad recognized my tell and asked me to tell him what happened. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised that he knew that there was something more. How many times did the three of us sit together communicating in silence.

Anyway, I told him what happened and got the expected response from him. I made a point of shifting the conversation quickly. I didn’t want to focus on me. I was furious about it. Even though it was demonstrative of the character of the people I had been working for, it wasn’t right. But there is a time and place for those things and that was neither.

I remember walking to the bathroom next to my old bedroom. Our picture was hanging on the wall. It is the one of you, dad, your father and myself. I am about 18 months or so in it. I remember staring at it and thinking about how young you looked in it because you were. I was 37 when you died and you were about 92. So in that picture you weren’t even 60. Can’t tell you if you had gone gray yet because the picture is in Black and White. icon wink Grandpa

Your great granddaughter talks about you relatively often. She likes to pretend that she is you. She hikes up her pants and and acts silly. It is bittersweet to me because she doesn’t remember you. Sure, she knows who you were and she recognizes your face in pictures but she doesn’t know the grandfather that I remember. When I coach her soccer team and see my folks on the sidelines it reminds me of you and it makes me smile because she is building the same sort of relationship that we had. But I am selfish and I want more time with my grandfather.

I am selfish because I got a small taste of getting to know you as a man and not a boy. I miss your stories. We can’t tell them as well as you could. I miss sharing secrets with you. Sure, whenever I come to visit you I make a point of telling you one or two, but it is not the same as having you sit across from me. You never knew about this blog but you would have enjoyed it. You always enjoyed my writing and most of the time I enjoyed sharing it with you. I qualified that because when I was younger it was harder doing that.

Blame it on youth. You always said that you couldn’t screw an old head on young shoulders and you were right. Life changes us, or should I say life experiences change us. I have written a bunch of posts about you. There are keywords in them that trigger memories for me. And I share those memories with your great grandchildren. They are all getting so big. I look at my nieces and nephews and my kids and I am amazed. You would be proud of them all.

I am not who I was when you died. Too much has happened but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Changes come and we do our best to roll with them. Just know that you are missed and loved. And when I punch out a boy or two for trying to date your great granddaughter I’ll tell them that you helped teach me how to throw a punch. Something tells me that would make you smile. I love you grandpa, got to run now and play dad for a while.

This was part of  The Red Dress Club Memoir Prompt.RButton Grandpa

81 comments
TheJackB
TheJackB

@vboersma19 Hi Valerie. Thank you for visiting. Grandparents are very special people and I get it. One of the great pleasures of my life was the opportunity to get to know my grandparents as an adult.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@therebelchick It is ok. We only miss those who really meant something to us.

vboersma19
vboersma19

This is beautiful! I miss my grandparents terribly. Now that I'm an adult, I need them almost as much or more than when I was little.

Wonderful writing-your grandpa would be proud!

Valerie @ For the Love of Pete, stopping by from TRDC

vboersma19
vboersma19

This is beautiful! I miss my grandparents terribly. Now that I'm an adult, I need them almost as much or more than when I was little. Wonderful writing-your grandpa would be proud! Valerie @ For the Love of Pete, stopping by from TRDC

vboersma19
vboersma19

This is beautiful! I miss my grandparents terribly. Now that I'm an adult, I need them almost as much or more than when I was little. Wonderful writing-your grandpa would be proud.

Carrie Rogo
Carrie Rogo

This is a beautiful letter to your Grandfather. He sounds like a wonderful man.

carrie.rogozinski
carrie.rogozinski

This is a beautiful letter to your Grandfather. He sounds like a wonderful man.

CDG
CDG

I never knew either of my grandfathers. I am told I'm a lot like both of them. I envy you the connection you had, even while I'm sorry for what was obviously a very painful loss.

CDG
CDG

I never knew either of my grandfathers. I am told I'm a lot like both of them.
I envy you the connection you had, even while I'm sorry for what was obviously a very painful loss.

Lydia
Lydia

I love that you shared these memories with your children and their children and writing about them will be such a gift for them too. And for us, thank you for sharing this.

Lydia
Lydia

I love that you shared these memories with your children and their children and writing about them will be such a gift for them too. And for us, thank you for sharing this.

Karen Peterson
Karen Peterson

It's funny how there are so many things we think we can't tell people, even after they've gone.

I'm sure you ARE a different person now than you were four and a half years ago, but I bet your grandfather is still proud of you.

Karen Peterson
Karen Peterson

It's funny how there are so many things we think we can't tell people, even after they've gone. I'm sure you ARE a different person now than you were four and a half years ago, but I bet your grandfather is still proud of you.

Katie
Katie

Damn Jack. You look so good when you throw on that red dress.

seriously, though...this made me think of my husband. He lost his dad almost 6 years ago--the summer we were married. He never med his grandbabies. And we lost my husband's (paternal) grandpa on Christmas this year. My son and my husband are growing up with giant holes in what should be there.

you wrote so beautifully here...you showed your love, your comfort, and your sadness...all rolled together.

Katie
Katie

Damn Jack. You look so good when you throw on that red dress.

seriously, though...this made me think of my husband. He lost his dad almost 6 years ago--the summer we were married. He never med his grandbabies. And we lost my husband's (paternal) grandpa on Christmas this year. My son and my husband are growing up with giant holes in what should be there.

you wrote so beautifully here...you showed your love, your comfort, and your sadness...all rolled together.

Katie
Katie

Damn Jack. You look so good when you throw on that red dress. seriously, though...this made me think of my husband. He lost his dad almost 6 years ago--the summer we were married. He never med his grandbabies. And we lost my husband's (paternal) grandpa on Christmas this year. My son and my husband are growing up with giant holes in what should be there. you wrote so beautifully here...you showed your love, your comfort, and your sadness...all rolled together.

Dafeenah
Dafeenah

Amazing story. Thank you for sharing. When you have grandparents like that, the world is different once they are no longer in it.

Dafeenah
Dafeenah

Amazing story. Thank you for sharing. When you have grandparents like that, the world is different once they are no longer in it.

Brooke
Brooke

My great-grandmother died before I had a memory of her, and my grandmother died before my son could truly know her. It's strange to think about because, if we are lucky, we have memories of these people that we cannot share with our children even though we would have wanted them to know their ancestors. Thanks for sharing your story.

Brooke
Brooke

My great-grandmother died before I had a memory of her, and my grandmother died before my son could truly know her. It's strange to think about because, if we are lucky, we have memories of these people that we cannot share with our children even though we would have wanted them to know their ancestors. Thanks for sharing your story.

Brooke
Brooke

My great-grandmother died before I had a memory of her, and my grandmother died before my son could truly know her. It's strange to think about because, if we are lucky, we have memories of these people that we cannot share with our children even though we would have wanted them to know their ancestors. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mad Woman behind the Blog
Mad Woman behind the Blog

You were such a generous man, to give this day to your dad and to shrug off any attention brought to you. So often when its family, we only think of ourselves and our loss rather than the loss for those around us.
I too wish my grandparents could see the woman I've become and know their great grandchildren. I too hope my children know their grandparents as I did mine.
Thank you for taking me back to them today.

Mad Woman behind the Blog
Mad Woman behind the Blog

You were such a generous man, to give this day to your dad and to shrug off any attention brought to you. So often when its family, we only think of ourselves and our loss rather than the loss for those around us.
I too wish my grandparents could see the woman I've become and know their great grandchildren. I too hope my children know their grandparents as I did mine.
Thank you for taking me back to them today.

Mad Woman behind the Blog
Mad Woman behind the Blog

You were such a generous man, to give this day to your dad and to shrug off any attention brought to you. So often when its family, we only think of ourselves and our loss rather than the loss for those around us. I too wish my grandparents could see the woman I've become and know their great grandchildren. I too hope my children know their grandparents as I did mine. Thank you for taking me back to them today.

Kate Hopper
Kate Hopper

Lovely post, Jack, and what a wonderful tribute not only to grandfather, but to your father. I can feel the sense of closeness between all three of you. Wonderful writing!

Kate Hopper
Kate Hopper

Lovely post, Jack, and what a wonderful tribute not only to grandfather, but to your father. I can feel the sense of closeness between all three of you. Wonderful writing!

Aimee Davis
Aimee Davis

I'm not a cryin' kind of girl, but I teared up a bit, I will admit. Such a relatable story, and you tell it perfectly- the simplicity of a boy, the strength of a man, and wisdom of a father. Stories like this give me the courage to tell my own. Thank you.

Aimee Davis
Aimee Davis

I'm not a cryin' kind of girl, but I teared up a bit, I will admit. Such a relatable story, and you tell it perfectly- the simplicity of a boy, the strength of a man, and wisdom of a father. Stories like this give me the courage to tell my own. Thank you.

Aimee Davis
Aimee Davis

I'm not a cryin' kind of girl, but I teared up a bit, I will admit. Such a relatable story, and you tell it perfectly- the simplicity of a boy, the strength of a man, and wisdom of a father. Stories like this give me the courage to tell my own. Thank you.

TheJackB
TheJackB moderator

@vboersma19 Hi Valerie. Thank you for visiting. Grandparents are very special people and I get it. One of the great pleasures of my life was the opportunity to get to know my grandparents as an adult.

Latest blog post: A Flickering Candle

Jack
Jack

I was very lucky to have all of my grandparents and still lucky to have one who is still around.

Jack
Jack

I was very lucky to have all of my grandparents and still lucky to have one who is still around.

Jack
Jack

I think that sharing a big part of why I blog.

Jack
Jack

I think that sharing a big part of why I blog.

Jack
Jack

Karen,

I had no bigger cheerleader than my grandfather. I could do no wrong in his eyes. Now my father has taken on the mantle and says the same thing about his grandchildren. The circle keeps on going.

Jack
Jack

Karen, I had no bigger cheerleader than my grandfather. I could do no wrong in his eyes. Now my father has taken on the mantle and says the same thing about his grandchildren. The circle keeps on going.

Jack
Jack

Hi Katie,

Why doesn't anyone ever tell us that it is drafty in these things. I have wind blowing up places it is not meant to be. ;)

It is hard to have those holes. Even though we know that people won't be around forever sometimes we don't believe that somehow they'll manage to stick around.

Jack
Jack

Hi Katie, Why doesn't anyone ever tell us that it is drafty in these things. I have wind blowing up places it is not meant to be. ;) It is hard to have those holes. Even though we know that people won't be around forever sometimes we don't believe that somehow they'll manage to stick around.

Jack
Jack

Yes, it is a little bit darker and the shine is not so bright. But I am ever so grateful for them.

Jack
Jack

Yes, it is a little bit darker and the shine is not so bright. But I am ever so grateful for them.

Jack
Jack

One of my wishes for the blog is that it helps provide a connection for my children and whomever comes after. Maybe 100 years from now some great great great grandchild will read my words and see something that they can relate to.

Jack
Jack

One of my wishes for the blog is that it helps provide a connection for my children and whomever comes after. Maybe 100 years from now some great great great grandchild will read my words and see something that they can relate to.

Jack
Jack

Sometimes I look back at that day as a sign of how far I have come. I understand what you are saying about wishing your grandparents could see the woman you have become. Even though my grandparents got to see a lot, I would have liked to have shown them more.

Jack
Jack

Sometimes I look back at that day as a sign of how far I have come. I understand what you are saying about wishing your grandparents could see the woman you have become. Even though my grandparents got to see a lot, I would have liked to have shown them more.

Jack
Jack

My dad and I are tight, but we are missing our anchor. Now my son has moved up a spot and we are "training" him to be our third.

Jack
Jack

My dad and I are tight, but we are missing our anchor. Now my son has moved up a spot and we are "training" him to be our third.

Jack
Jack

Thank you. What I do I learned from them.

Jack
Jack

Thank you. What I do I learned from them.

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