A couple of weeks ago, my grandfather died. Which has brought not a fullsade of sorrow, tears, and grief as one would expect given the apocalyptic overtones of mortality manifesting itself in one’s life. What it has done to me, is make me think about the ramifications of his life and how it’s been like a specter lingering always over the lives of the family long before his demise. Meaning that, he’s almost always been in the background silently overseeing and moving events in the lives of my family for years. With him gone, nothing feels the same in those households, and they never will again given the unique position of the family hierarchy which was extremely dependent on him to handle everything.
He had to deal with a wife who was becoming increasingly aloof and difficult as she grew older, two adult children who’s marriages ended and forced a semi financial co-dependance on him, and four grand children. One dangerously close to an alcoholic, one with some serious anger and stress issues, one who gave him a great great grandchild, and one who did nothing but fight him tooth and nail for years over everything and anything. Guess which one I was.
All of us, at some point, needed him to get through some tough times, and in spite of the fact that it cost him his retirement to take in our family when my father ran out, he did what he could do to ensure we made it. It may not have been a perfect relationship, and we may not have agreed at times, but I never hated him. The man was selfless, and was the closest thing to a father I’ve had in my adult life. My mother would not have been able to survive taking care of four kids on her own after my father ran out on us when I was twelve, opening old wounds for me because of my adoption and the obvious subtext that implies. She was incapable of normal work due to severe arthritis, so my grandfather helped her get a place for me and my brothers.