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What I remember

My grandfather was a strong man. He wasn’t perfect.

He loved his family in his own quiet and sometimes not so quiet way. He never told me often that he loved me. Yet, I didn’t need him to tell me. I knew that he did.

My grandfather married my grandmother even though she had five children from a previous marriage. My mother was one of those five children. I was never told growing up that my grandfather wasn’t really my grandfather. I had no reason to think otherwise. He treated me as if I were his granddaughter. I was his granddaughter.

I am his granddaughter.

One day while we were visiting my aunt I found out that my grandfather was not my grandfather by blood. Some of my cousins told my brother and I the truth. We refused to believe it. We really thought our cousins were lying or losing their minds. It was just plain wrong to tell someone that their grandfather was not in fact their grandfather. We could not understand why. Why would they say such a thing?

We went to our mother to tell her how mean our cousins were. She had to tell us the truth. What choice did she have now that the truth was out? Up until the moment she started explaining that she wanted to wait until we were older I thought my cousins were lying. When I heard her words my heart caught in my throat. The realization hit me with no mercy. All my childhood innocence was shattered. I couldn’t breathe and the world, my world, had stopped still for an ugly moment.

My heart broke. It broke because I loved Grandpa so much. I couldn’t understand it at all.

Afterwards, I was so angry. Not at my parents. Not at my grandparents. I was angry at my cousins. They had tried to take away something precious to me and for no good reason. I felt like they had tried to rob me of something that was untouchable. It took me a long time to forgive them.

I was around seven when I found out. I was secretly angry for many years until I was mature enough to understand it all. Later, I forgave my cousins because they were kids being kids. They felt they had to tell us the truth because they had in fact recently met our real grandfather in person.

My mother explained that she had a father but she never saw him. After he and my grandmother were divorced he never came to see his children. There was a nasty history between my grandmother and him. It was best at the time that he did stay away.

I understood that my grandfather was the same man that I had always known to be Grandpa. Even if the other cousins had met their real grandfather I would not be meeting this man. My mother didn’t want anything to do with her father. She told me that her stepfather was my REAL grandfather and no one could take that from me. No one.

She was right. My brother and I didn’t let anyone take that from us. We never had the need to meet our mother’s father. We already had a grandfather.

Grandpa died the night before last. I love him in every way that a granddaughter loves their grandfather. I know he knew that.

I never stopped calling him Grandpa even after I knew the truth. I could never call him something else than what I knew him to be. He was Grandpa.

My grandpa.

We played basketball together, watched wrestling and talked…he loved to talk. I will always remember how he would sing at five in the morning to Hank Williams while he fixed breakfast. He got up that early every morning. I would lay in the bed listening. I loved to listen to him sing in the morning when I spent the night with my grandparents.

I miss how my grandparents would lovingly bicker together. My grandfather loved to tease everyone especially my grandmother.

My grandpa taught me to wash a car. He taught me about people. I can hear him telling me about how he grew up in Hazard, Kentucky and walked to school every day. He was the youngest out of fifteen children.

My grandfather was a strong man. He wasn’t the kind of man to show much physical affection. It didn’t matter. He cooked for us, he talked to us, he took care of us and he was always there for us. It was all the little things that he did to tell me that he loved me.

Those little things meant more to me than any words. After all…love can not be found in words.

Love is a bond.

What I remember are all those little memories of my grandfather and everything he did for me.

What I remember is his strength and his love.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • M@ October 31, 2007, 4:20 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. He sounds like a great guy. (((hugs)))

  • might I add October 31, 2007, 6:18 pm

    This is very touching. Thank you for sharing your memories.

  • Pumpkin October 31, 2007, 8:28 pm

    Thank you both. It really helped writing about him. It is so hard not being with my family right now in particular my mother since I know she needs me.

  • Darren November 1, 2007, 2:13 am

    Thoughts and prayers with you and your family. Thanks for sharing your memories, he sounded like a wonderful man.

  • Torun November 1, 2007, 12:33 pm

    Thank you for that beautiful post! He sounds like a great man. My dad said in a speech when his brother died a couple of years ago, that the Chinese have a saying that goes something like: “nobody is really dead and gone until people have stopped talking about them and recalling memories about them”. I think your grandfather will live on long in both your and your family’s memories.

    My own grandfather died about 25 years ago, but my youngest, Mr Bear, is named after him. I think about him almost every day, because his name has been brought out in the light again.

    Take care!

  • expatraveler November 1, 2007, 2:01 pm

    Do take care but hold onto the memories because they will always mean the most. My grandfather also died 25 years ago. But my other one, who is not my real grandfather by blood was just like yours. He still lives in Ohio alone now, but enjoying his life.

  • patdem November 2, 2007, 8:16 am

    Beautiful post, writing about him will help you to release you pain. I wish i had grandpa like yours.

  • Pumpkin November 2, 2007, 10:51 am

    Thanks everyone.

  • Hexe November 3, 2007, 12:41 am

    I’m late but please accept my condolences for the loss for your grandfather.

  • Carrie_in_TN November 3, 2007, 1:25 am

    I am so sorry about the loss of your grandfather…I adored both of my grandfathers, one of whom was not related to me by blood, but by spirit. I miss all of my grandparents often and I hope one day to be a wonderful grandmother…Your grandfather sounds wonderful and everything a grandparent should be.

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