For all that I share about my father and the effect his passing had on me, I rarely talk about other loved ones who have come and gone.
Today is the 9th anniversary of my paternal grandfather’s death. My grandfather was truly a remarkable man, someone I didn’t speak to enough while he was here and someone I don’t speak of enough now that he’s no longer with us.
From a young age, I admired him for his having earned a fortune on his own, and for his world travels. My grandfather spoke a multitude of languages, bits and pieces of which he would teach me during his twice-yearly visits. He was a man who commanded the respect and attention of a room effortlessly. He taught me about class without ever saying a word on the subject.
He was not without fault, but there doesn’t seem to be a point to detail the faults I’ve realized he had.
He taught me how to palm a tip into someone’s hand, a skill that I didn’t realize was impressive until I traveled with friends and did this without thinking; they were blown away and made me show them multiple times until they decided they could not do it as smoothly as I did, and that I should be the person to tip everyone on our trip. I obliged and thought of him, as that trip was just over 2 weeks after he passed away.
My grandfather’s death marks the last time I saw my grandmother alive (for reasons best left unshared). It also marks the last time I saw many members of my extended family; likely my favorite moment from that intensely mournful trip to Canada was when a relative said something extremely crude, and I thought, “If grandpa was here, even in a frail state, he would have crossed the room in 3 steps and slapped her across the face to shut her up.”
He taught me class, he taught me respect, but he also taught me that the head of the family shouldn’t be afraid to rule with an iron fist either. Family matters.
RIP Grandpa. You are missed.