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in memoriam

2004-08-31 - 2:07 p.m.

Today is my grandfather's yartzeit, the first anniversary of his death.

It seems inconceivable to me that it's been a whole year since Grandpa died. I'm looking back over this wild, strange, roller-coaster year and realizing that he'll never know all the events that have changed our lives this year. He'll never know my brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first child, which also would have been his first great-grandchild. He'll never know I bought my first house. He'll never know my parents' new dog, nor that my cousin Justin is going back to school.

Of course, it's debatable if he'd have known any of this had he still been alive, since he was so deep in his dementia. But I like to think that some of this would have gotten through. I'd like to think he would have understood that my brother's child is going to be making an appearance before too long, "another link in the line whose last link none may see."

I miss my grandfather. I miss the advice he could have given us with our new house. I miss his gentle kindness. I miss the way he always called me "love." I miss his patience and his intelligence and his devotion to his family and his home. I remember before he and my grandmother moved out to California, and my mom was trying to convince them to move. He got very upset, and when we went outside, he showed me the stone wall he'd built, the cottage he'd built with his father-in-law, the hedges he'd planted. "You can't leave a place like this. You can't leave a place that has so much of yourself in it," he told me.

I have regrets, too. I regret that I never told my grandfather he'd given me the best piece of advice I've gotten in my life, the best advice I'm ever likely to get: every story has two sides--be sure you hear both before making a judgment. I regret that I never thanked him for his service to our country. I regret that I never bothered to learn more about his life until it was too late to talk to him. I regret that I never told him he has been one of my standards for a good, decent man.

I miss you, Grandpa.


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