Some of you already know that I learned last night that my grandfather died. I couldn't write about it because my home internet was down.
Probably just as well...I am still processing it.
My grandfather and I were estranged. We had not spoken since my mother's funeral, and to be honest, we didn't speak often before she died.
He had an issue with homosexuality.
When he found out my mother was in a relationship with a woman, he wrote her a nasty letter. Because she adored him, she kept that letter in her purse until the day she died, and because she adored him, she tortured herself with it daily. I used to beg her to throw it away.
I tried, before and after she died, to reach out to him. He refused my letters and deleted my emails. He refused my family members' attempts to intervene on my behalf. He was the only person in my family to reject me for being gay.
And it wasn't just me...he also rejected my brother, who is not gay. My brother, who is biologically my first cousin, was adopted by my mother when he was two because his father, her brother, couldn't care for him. And at the time, my grandfather advised her not to take him in because it was too much responsibility.
He was never around when I was a kid, and he knows my brother even less. He has never met my brother's children, his only great-grandkids. And for the record, my niece and nephew are awesome.
But in spite of all of that, I had always held out hope he would come around. That he would want a relationship with us. Because I know I am a granddaughter most would be proud to have. My mom's mother was. My dad's parents were. My dad is. And they all knew I was gay. But they also knew that I still had the same values I had been raised with. Which means you find the person you want to spend your life with and you commit. You love them and stay faithful to them. You pay your bills, you live within your means. You treat others well. You live life with honesty and integrity.
I am a diplomat. I have a Master's degree and nearly a PhD. I have a stable marriage and stable job. I have devoted myself to the service of my country. I would have thought he would have wanted a granddaughter like me.
I am a good person. I am also a gay person, and I am not ashamed of that. But he could never get past the second statement to see the first.
So mostly I am sad at not really ever getting to know him and him never giving himself a chance to get to know me.
I can't feel sad at losing him...I haven't had him in a very long time. Mostly I am sad that the chance to reconcile is gone.
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