I don’t think he’s there though; I’ve had the talks, but they seem one sided. I don’t leave his grave feeling any connection or insight, so not sure what the net is for me, but do seem to think a bit when I leave.
I’m getting to the age of being a grandfather myself and am aware of what my grandfathers’ could have added at an early age. I think about what I will leave to the children of my children, and what they would miss if I were not around to mess with their gentle, unformed minds.
My father writes poetry, and has books and writings of his word in scattered places that can survive the fall. When I read his work, I know that I am different from him in fundamental ways, and that I make choices that he never would. I also know that I am from him, and a part of him, and no place I go will ever be without him. I know him.
My father says that his father wrote poetry, but none of it remains. What would I see of myself if I had the words to read into what he said and felt? What could I tell my children’s children about us as a clan if I had the writings to touch and make sense of?
Without words or contact it’s tough to know the tics and strangeness I might have held in common with my father’s father... Without his words, or an adequate description from another, it’s hard to see what his passions might have been, what moved him in ways I could recognize or marvel at for their strangeness not of me. I’m sure my father was much like him, but different in fundamental ways and in choices made.
My mother’s father is more distant yet. An older man with glasses who came home neatly dressed, turned on the old TV and tried to keep us from annoying. Him they took young with a thing in his brain that kept us away from what might have been a horror.
He, who I am most like, I never knew, only stories and pictures and comments and myths. No one claims he wrote anything down to leave and what I know of him is what others saw, never me.
If we had been together, my grandfathers and I, I know, as I know my children’s children will know, that all of him to know would have been given and known to me by their presence and love.