In the prior post The Pain In My Grandfather’s Eyes I spent a few minutes reminiscing about my grandfather and an experience that I shared with him. This post should in theory be a little bit different, hopefully I won’t muck it up too badly.
Growing up I didn’t know anyone with the same last name. It wasn’t until I got to be teenager that I even came across someone with the same name and we couldn’t figure out any sort of relationship.
My grandfather was one of five but his only brother never married and never had any kids. My father’s younger brother died twelve years ago. He didn’t have any children either. So for those of you keeping score that made me the keeper of the line, a responsibility that is now being passed on down to my son.
While I consider myself to have been very close with all of my grandparents, it was a little different with my grandfather. In part it is the shared name. In part it was because I remember the time after my grandmother died and before he got remarried. In part it is just because of the nature of how things work.
My father and his father were very close and I was very close with both of them. It is easy for me to see how they both impacted me. I have habits that I can attribute to both of them. Physically I am much bigger than my grandfather was, in that I more closely take after my father. But aspects of my temperment are far closer to my grandfather than my father.
I am a blend, a mutt. And should my other grandfather read this he should know that I definitely have my share of his traits as well. And you know grandpa that I don’t say things like that just to say them.
Anyway…With the new year approaching I naturally have been thinking about what has happened and where I have been. And I find that I miss my grandfather more than ever. I miss the friendship that we had developed.
We were always close, but after I became a father our relationship changed. As I came to understand what it meant to be the sole source of income and to understand the awesome challenge of raising children it grew deeper.
I miss having him around to bullshit with. I miss just sitting in the living room with him and my father. Sometimes the three of us would say nothing, just stare off into space or drift off into sleep in our recliners. The silence was never awkward. It was natural.
I miss the road trips that the three of us would take, the trips to Dodger games, movies and more. I miss the secure feeling that I got just knowing that if I had a problem I could call either one of them.
Back in that crazy summer of ’04 I spoke with him about what it would be like after he was gone. He smiled and told me that I shouldn’t worry about it. I told him that I didn’t, but that I would miss having him around.
He smiled again and told me that even though his own father had died close to thirty years earlier he still missed being able to speak with him. And then he said that I would just figure it out.
And that my friends is in some respects the quintessential summation of our philosophy for living. Life isn’t fair and it isn’t always easy. Get over it and figure it out.
I have to print that out and give it to my kids. In another 20 years or so they’ll really appreciate it.
The new year is coming and I can feel the chill of his absence but the memories warm my soul. Time for this old man to run.
Lailah tov from LA.