Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A tribute to Grandpa

From right to left: Grandpa, mom, aunt, grandma.

Losing someone dear is never easy. It is an emotional upheaval. You think about the good times that you’ve had which only makes it that much more painful. It feels like a punch to the gut that takes the wind out of your lungs.
Yet the blow only comes in later. At first, it seems so surreal, imagined.
Thinking about it alone is not the same as being in the presence of others. Am I a psychopath because my emotions seem to be that of a tin man?
I want to feel, I want to let out the waterworks, how can I?
When I moved to Israel I was taken care of by my dad’s parents. I grew a natural bond with them, I viewed them as my own parents.
During a summer when I was ten my sister and I traveled to visit my mom’s parents.
My sister and I traveled alone for the first time, we had assistance and it wasn’t so bad. Being the older brother I was looking out after my sister.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by my grandparents and then two and a half hours later we arrived at my grandparent’s residence. (My aunt probably was there to meet us too, at this point, this is something I remember vaguely.)
When we arrived at my grandparents we were shown to our room, and we were well-taken care off. That was the summer I learned how to read and write in Russian.
My grandpa was one of the smartest men that I knew. His knowledge base was vast, grandma would always ask grandpa about matters, he would always have an answer for her or anyone that asked. I can’t remember him saying that he didn’t know something. Or maybe I choose to not remember.
The part that still sticks with me is the enchanted forest that was walking distance from my grandparent’s residence. We would go into the forest to pick mushrooms; the wilderness is still dreamlike when I imagine it.
When I close my eyes, I can still see and smell the nature in the forest like I am there right now at this very moment. It feels as if I was in a fictional story book.
There was nothing but love and respect for my sister and I. I could remember those two summer months so clearly that 20 years later when I went back with my girlfriend not much has changed in Lithuania.
It was a communist country and when it became independent it no longer served the outskirts of the main city. That was the least of the priority for the government. The part where my grandparents live has been abandoned by its government. “Our city serves no purpose” as my grandma would voice her opinion on the political matter.
Up until recently, I grew a close bond with grandpa and grandma. The more stories I hear about grandpa the more I think to myself how much in common we had even though we kept a distant relationship all of these years.
I found out that grandpa went to university when he was 30 years old, as I am doing right now. Grandpa was such an avid reader, his book collection kept on growing so much that in the tiny little apartment they were running out of space for tall the books. (Which I am hoping to myself, with my book collection growing ever so large, for someone who has never read for 29 years.)
Grandma began selling his books without him even knowing it. I don’t think it was so much for the money, but more so for space and the enjoyment that she got from others reading his books.
He didn’t drink alcohol, another thing we share.
I would have described grandpas character as full of humility he had a huge heart. He always came second because he put grandma first, with his feelings and with his thoughts, he was chivalries. Their bond lasted over 60 years.
Grandpa is my role model and always will be. His character is unlike any person I have yet to meet.
Grandpa was a quiet man, he spoke ever so gently and when he did speak it was always worth hearing what he had to say. He said it with conviction, and he always meant what he had to say. He never had anything bad to say about anyone.
His jokes were funny if you understood Russian well. His smile was infectious, it brings back those good memories I have of him.
The time he was standing at my aunt’s house in Canada when they came to visit to wave goodbye to us when we would leave. He was a man of honor.
He was learning English so he can understand what we would be saying.
Am I sadder that grandpa passed away or that now after 60 years my grandma is alone?
It is heart wrenching to think how someone could be separated from the person they loved for that long.
I am sad, and I know that I will cry, but that’s not what my grandpa would want me to do. He would want me to be strong, like the man that he was. He would want me to look after the person I love just like he looked after grandma all those years.
I understand that holding back my emotions is wrong, bottling up the feeling will only make things worse. So, I will take it one day at a time. When I am ready I will let go.
So now the time comes to explain why I am sad, this part is what bothers me the most I think. How should others feel about this, they didn’t know him, but they know me. What does their condolence mean, if it means anything?
I want to say that it makes me feel better hearing others feel my pain, but it doesn’t. It almost makes it a little bit more awkward. The sympathy that they carry, is just not something I can relate too. At least not right now.
I suppose there is no hiding my feelings.
Thank you for reading my personal story. We love you, grandpa. You are always in our hearts.

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