Yesterday marked the 16-year anniversary of the death of my grandpa Joe. Exactly one month to the day that my son was born my grandfather passed away. My son's middle name is Joseph. I can remember that day very well. I had a one-month old and my life was in turmoil, again. It seems now that when I think back my life has consisted of one ugly issue after another. I've been dealt way more than my fair share of *shit* and yes, there have only been a couple of life-threatening issues on my part so I can actually go out on a limb and say that I've had enough and that it's my turn for some really good stuff. I've always said that when I got in line for life, I got in the wrong line titled "long road to happiness".
I miss my grandpa. These two photos, given to me by my mom, remind me just how much my grandpa loved me. Always looking out for me and protecting me. And can you see him talking to me? He totally was. He had a very caring nature about him. He loved animals so much and I remember how he talked to them. All of them. Squirrels, cute little bunnies with fluffy tails and my dogs.
I remember going to visit my grandparents who lived just on the other side of town, a mere mile from my house. And it seemed like forever all the way across town! when you are little. It's a good thing I thought it was really far because one day when I was about 4 or 5 I decided I had had enough and I decided to run away from home. My only destination: My grandparents house because where else was I going to go. I got to the end of the block and stood there by the big tree on my friend, Dorin's, corner. I didn't move. And I stood there and stood there. You see, I wasn't allowed to cross the street. That mile seemed oh so far when I saw so little. I pondered what I would do and I eventually decided to go home because I knew I would be in trouble if I crossed that street and trouble was what I didn't want to be in. Especially if my dad got wind of it. Spending time with my grandpa was really fun and he would take me to the garden, which was amazing and filled with so many wonderful vegetables and beautiful flowers where I would help pick string beans. We would rummage through the attic which I thought was the coolest place to be ever. So many treasures to be found and how I wish I could go back. We hung out outside and we played checkers and dominoes. I can remember one night when my parents went out and I spent the night at Grandpa and Grandma's house. I ended up with the flu and I can remember, like it was yesterday, how I laid upon my grandpa's shoulder feeling oh so bad and how he rocked me until my mom came to get me. I can remember my grandpa being with me when I got a shot before going into Kindergarten and how I crawled up him while they poked that sharp needle into my flesh. Remember how much I hate needles? It started at a very early age. We went fishing and had picnics. We talked on the phone, sometimes for hours at a time. I eventually moved away, very far away to a placed called Los Angeles, CA. I didn't see my family much after that. We did talk several times a week but I rarely, if ever, talked to anyone but my mom. Now I talk to my sister ALL the time and I am so grateful for her. She truly is the best sister in the entire world.
I miss my Grandpa and I miss how my children do not have that luxury of living "down the street" from their grandparents. They don't really know much about each other. Heck, my parents don't know that much about me and I don't know much about their lives either. These miles certainly separate us in a way that isn't pleasant or comfortable.
I did have the luxury long ago of traveling home much, much more often than I have had in the last almost 10 years and the biggest reason was because of my parents. I thank them for that and the relationship the kids had with them was so much different than it is now. It's amazing how much things change. It's sad, too. But the biggest thing I wonder about is how the lack of a relationship with the grandparents will impact the grandchildren in the future and how, if they have children, it will impact my life. Their grandparents miss so much of their lives because of the distance, so many things and so much time that we can never get back. And the kids miss so much history and so many stories from their grandparents that will never be told. Things they will never know about their heritage. I don't know too many people who see/talk their family as little as we do and it sometimes makes me green with envy as I hear/read about those who the distance does not affect like it does my family and you can feel that closeness through the words they say/write though I guess that burden lies on me since I am the one who decided to leave. I guess what I am really saying is that we all are dealt a hand and what we do with that hand is up to us.
As a very wise Kal Barteski once stated: "That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least."