a tribute to my granddad…
One of my biggest regrets I have in life is not standing up and making a speech at the 50th wedding anniversary of my grandmother and grandfather. You might say that’s not such a big deal, well it is for me. I mean c’mon, 50 Years! The Golden Anniversary, it’s actually quite a big deal in and of itself but the fact this is the matriarch and patriarch of our tribe celebrating a half-century of togetherness is absolutely mega. It’s what I aspire to achieve and my grandfather is the man I most model myself after, at least from a family man and an “I can do anything I put my hands to” standpoint. My first real-life superhero, he who could do no wrong.
A few weeks after having written this title and deciding that I wanted to write about my grandfather I was sitting down having a conversation with one of my female cousins who made me question my admiration for him. Maybe I’m reaching when I say “question” my admiration but she did paint a different picture of my grandfather than the one I hold in my mind or at least made me look at him from a different angle than the one currently held. Maybe it’s the great male vs. female, Mars vs. Venus conundrum, who knows the picture that she saw when she thought of our grandfather. That’s basically what we live with when it comes to people who we do not see and interact with on a constant basis. People who were there throughout your childhood, they leave imprints on your mind, images that you hold of them. It made me realize that I may see him in a totally different light than she does and the negatives that she mentioned were not noticeable to me as I admired his positives or at least what I deemed to be positives. It made me think though, these same negatives may be present in me and I am blind to them in myself in the same way that I was blind to them with my grandfather, what’s the picture that I am painting my son, what’s the indelible image that I’ll be leaving him with, will he aspire to be just like me.
The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re still alive.
- Orlando A. Battista
You may wonder why I’ve even bothered to write about my grandfather, I mean what exactly does he add to this whole “awonderfulme” dynamic? Well, like I said he is the man that I’ve always looked up to, he is the man that I’ve always seen as a positive role model, but most importantly I want to let him know just how much he means to me while he is still alive. Yes, that old cliche “Cherish your loved ones while they are still alive” …it becomes kind of redundant after hearing it over and over but I think as you yourself get older and that generation two or three levels above your generation slowly and surely start dying off, it begins to resonate more with you.
Cherish your loved ones while they are still here – because that day will inevitably come when they’re not here. Immaturity, pride, and ego are often what separates us from really showing the people we love just how much we truly love them. Pride and ego are fleeting and come and go just like the wind, the presence of a person though, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Cherish your loved ones while they are still here…
While writing this piece, sadly my grandfather passed away. He had taken ill and progressively his body was ravaged by his sickness. Thankfully I was able to travel to England to see him one last time and I also got the opportunity to bring my son and let him meet his great-grandfather. I told you earlier that I had regretted speaking at the wedding anniversary of my grandparents, well I was able to have a conversation with my grandfather on his deathbed. A conversation, the likes of which we had never previously shared and for the first time in my existence I actually told him that I loved him. I’m sure he always knew that I loved and respected him but I had never said the words. I sit and think about that talk and wonder how it is that we never had these types of conversations up until that moment. I’m sure it’s because I had left England at a time when I wasn’t as mature as I am now and did not really see life as I see it now. I did not fully comprehend the wealth of life knowledge that exists in the mind of our elders, the world as they saw it and how they see it now. The sacrifices that they made for us to be able to see a life maybe better than the ones they had lived. They would always say it, sometimes in passing and sometimes when explaining why you needed to turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You know, the typical things you might hear a parent or grandparent telling their kids.
All that being said, take time out to let your loved ones know that you love them, guaranteed is the day that one of you will no longer be here to say it.
This was one of daddy’s favorite tunes….