December 18, 2011 by agooddaytoyou
A song for my grandpa. Was the song I heard the last time I saw him – High – Lighthouse People
Sometimes I think we get caught up in the trivial things in life, like trying to please others over ourselves.
I have friends that can’t say no and end up hosting a never-ending run of Tupperware parties. Others are still trying to get those few words of approval from their parents. And then some who can’t look in the mirror and smile at what they see back.
Currently I live my life to try to please myself. Though in the past there was one person who I used to try to please all the time.
The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is a special one and I can’t even think how to begin to describe how mine made me feel. My sister and I grew up spending a lot of time with my fraternal grandparents. We would have weekend sleepovers, go on whale watching holidays or go for day trips down to the beach.
As always happens we chose our favourite and so did they, though they never admitted it. I chose my Grandma because she was cool. When my grandpa was still alive she wasn’t as strong and independent as she is now, but she was still lots of fun.
We would make scones together, but not from a recipe. She would open the cupboard and throw a handful of this and that in to a bowl and tell me to mix. She would take me ‘fishing’ too, though it was our version of fishing. Under their house I had a big fish tank and we would go down to a local creek with a net, roll our pants up and spend hours looking for pretty fish to try to catch for my tank.
I am happy to say that my grandma is one of my best friends still to this day.
So logically my sister chose my grandpa. My sister was cool (Still is). But she was the kind of cool that had a heap of friends, got invited to parties and out to dinner. She did art lessons and horse riding too.
It was through horse riding that she and my grandpa really bonded. He would pick her up every Saturday morning to take her to her lessons. He would keep a can of lemonade cold for her when she finished the lesson. He would drive her anywhere that she wanted to go and buy her whatever she wanted. And at night when she would go to sleep he would rub her back and sing her a song.
My grandpa never ignored me or made me feel less special; he just never made me feel THAT special. So I would lie in bed and listen to him sing and fall asleep.
So I decided to try to please him and make him see how awesome I was. I started to mow his yard and weed the gardens. I didn’t make a mess and I let him watch whatever he wanted on TV (Though he usually let my sister pick anyway.) None of that really worked though, he still didn’t look at me the same as he looked at my sister.
Now to explain what I only found out years after he had passed away. My Uncle is gay and everyone used to say that I was my Uncles’ nephew. Turns out it was true. But when you are 10 you don’t get all the politics involved in families. When my Uncle came out to his parents they disowned him, only for a short time until they realised it didn’t matter.
They came from the generation where you didn’t talk about those things and you kept them behind closed doors.
Knowing what I know now I understand why he held me at arm’s length and don’t hold anything against him.
When I was about 16 I found out he was sick. Not the kind of sick you take a pill for and get better. So I went to visit him one last time. Grandpa had not long been out of hospital.
I stayed the weekend and we did what any dysfunctional family does; we pretended that nothing was wrong.
But on the last night I had gone to bed and was getting ready to sleep when grandpa came in to say goodnight. Without a fuss or drawing attention to it he sat on the edge of the bed, rubbed my back and sang to me.
That was the last time I saw my grandpa. Not long afterwards he lost his battle to cancer and passed away.
The point of this blog was not to make you cry (Though I blubbered like a big baby writing it) but to try to make you more self-aware. Just because the people around us can’t express how they feel in words, doesn’t mean that it’s not shown in a meal they make, a smile across the table or a pat on the back. But maybe also it will make you a little more conscious of showing the ones you love just how you feel.