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I would like to talk to you about my grandpa, but you did not know him. Instead, let’s talk about yours. Your grandpa was always old. He always was going bald. He always gave the best presents on your birthday. He was tall, taller even than your dad, but also less imposing. He told the same stories over and over, and said silly rhymes that will always remind you of him.

You remember when he remarried, to the woman who will always be remembered in your family as the one who spent your inheritance; the one who he loved more. You were asked to be in the wedding, but you remember little of it. All his family was there, from all over the country. You did not know who these people were but you remember that they showed special attention to you and your brother and sister, because you were his only grandkids. The reception was in the same church as the wake.

You remember when he wasn’t there for you. You remember when he disappointed you. You remember when you realized that he had more duties than you; that every second of his day, he was doing something. You remember hearing about all the different places in the world he traveled to but have never been yourself. On the walls of his house were souvenirs from Africa, India, Spain, France, Italy, and the Holy Land. You were always surprised when he dressed differently than your dad.

You remember the short, to-the-point message you got, a voice mail or an e-mail, saying that he was in the hospital again but it was probably nothing serious but that you should know. He went home a few days later. This was the first time you realized that yes, he was going to die; old, but not old enough.

He had lost his grandpa so long ago that you never even realized he had one. There were pictures that you saw once, and your father still wears his gold ring, but you can’t remember his name. You will never forget your grandpa’s name.

You remember his bottles of pills, and his healthy food, and when the holidays were catered because it was too much work that year. That was the first and last time you argued with him, but it was friendly. You finally felt you understood enough of his world, that you had learned enough that you could understand why he said the things he did, that you felt he could respect your opinion. You still disagree with what he said.

You will never stop remembering the last time you saw him. You will remember your grandpa forever, and so will I.


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Tom, I simply cannot understand what must have possessed you to think that what you said to me was appropriate or acceptable. (more…)

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