Grandpa Is Still Gone

My sister and her kids left this evening. It was the first time that the children had been here since my grandfather died. They ran around the house searching for him. The older two understood that he is gone, but that didn’t stop them from conducting a little scavenger hunt of sorts.

I miss my grandfather. Three years ago I had four grandparents and now I have two. Life changes so very quickly. Sometimes I wake up and find that I have forgotten that he is gone.

When I walk through my parent’s house I find myself looking for him. Everywhere. Somewhere. Anywhere. The halls are empty and his chair is bare. His presence is absent and yet in some ways it is still there, lingering.

My father is an orphan. I suppose that one day I will be too. I look at him. I watch him and study how he handles this. It is a habit that was ingrained in me at birth. How can I not pay attention to him and how can I not notice how many things he does that my grandfather did.

There are expressions and gestures. There are reactions and actions and in all of them I see my father and echoes of my grandfather. If I see this much in my father it makes me wonder how much my children see in me, or how much they will see.

Grandpa and I were very similar. There are some things that I share with him that I don’t have in common with my father. It is ok, I don’t see a need to be a mirror image. I don’t expect my son or daughter to be a mirror image of me either.

I suppose that in some ways we cannot help but look at our parents/grandparents and study them in an effort to understand ourselves better.

The children asked about him. They knew that he was gone, but still they wanted to know where Grandpa was. I asked them where they thought he was and in a quiet voice the eldest said “he died.”

We talked about it a little. It is a conversation that I have had with my son many times. He understands that right now he is the end of the line. Grandpa died and that left the line with my father, myself and my son.

And then there were three.

In a short time my daughter’s memories of grandpa will fade. My two youngest nephews won’t remember him at all and the reality is that even the memories of the eldest will be vague. It pains me a little.

My grandfather meant so much to me. He is a part of me. Like I said earlier, there are certain things that he and I shared. There are secrets that I was given trust of and in turn secrets that I placed in his care.

The things that we knew about each other are deep and the truth is that it really bothers me to write about him in the past tense.

Here is the big secret. When I think about him I don’t always get that lump in my throat and part of me feels guilty about that. It feels a bit like a betrayal to his memory and at the same time I know that he wouldn’t want the fuss. He would be uncomfortable with it, so I can’t be too upset.

It is a part of life and in my experience it is ok to let some of that go. It is not really a betrayal. It is ok not to hold on to the pain and loss.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel it from time to time, I do. It just means that it is not always present.

I loved my grandfather. It is tough to realize that I don’t have him around anymore and it is hard to accept that the kids will never know him the way that I did.

But they will hear stories and in spending time with me they’ll be exposed to certain expressions and thoughts. So I suppose that in some way they will learn more about his legacy.

Grandpa died. It sounds so hollow and feels so empty.

I miss you…still.

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10 Comments

  1. Jack's Shack September 4, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Tafka,

    Thank you.

  2. tafka PP September 4, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    I just wanted you to know that I was with all my Grandparents now and I think my time with them was even more meaningful as a result of following your journey with your Grandfather’s passing.

    Thanks for that. And thinking of you.

  3. Jack's Shack August 20, 2006 at 5:50 am

    Chana,

    That is an interesting idea.

    Richmond,

    Thank you.

    MCA,

    Thank you also.

  4. MC Aryeh August 18, 2006 at 7:52 am

    Jack, I am sorry for your loss. I also now have only two grandparents left. It is so unnerving and it feels wrong to have someone who was such a part of your life there one day and the next gone. You write about your grandfather with obvious love and affection. I am sure that will be communicated to your kids, and even if they forget, they will not forget your relationship with him. And they may yet remember him – I can still recall spending time with my great-grandparents when I was a child…

  5. Richmond August 17, 2006 at 10:00 pm

    Grief is like that. I am so sorry. Blessings and peace be with you all…

  6. Chana August 16, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    Maybe you (with your wife’s help, incognito) could make a videotape of you having casual quiet time with the kids, like an “I remember” kind of thing, where you talk about favorite trips, or books they shared with him, and such, the things that you’re afraid they’ll forget. That way even if they don’t remember when they’re older, you can watch the tape together and say, see, when you were little, my grandfather was someone special in your life.

  7. Stacey August 16, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Oh, yes you do! It’s been “next week” for a while. Find out! Please?

  8. Jack's Shack August 16, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    SI,

    Thank you.

    Stacey,

    I don’t know what you are talking about. 🙂

  9. Stacey August 16, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    It is hard to lose someone you love.

    P.S. I still want the answer to the secret he never told you.

  10. StepIma August 16, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    Try not to feel guilty for allowing yourself to let go. You’ll always remember him, and that alone is also complete mourning, even when the time eventually comes when you forget to miss him at times when you think you’re “supposed to”. Especially because you’ll also find yourself missing him at times when you least expect it.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Even if it was his time, no matter what his age, it was too soon.

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