Death of Family, Yet a Stranger


As I’ve said in other posts that have had to do with deaths in the family, it is something I’m accustomed to.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but there it is.

Each and every one of them affects me in some way, often in the pretty typical ways.

This one is a bit different for me.

I received a call the other day from my father.  Apparently a grandparent I wasn’t aware I still had just passed away.  My father’s father.  And to be blunt and honest, I stated that I didn’t even realize that he was still alive.  I wasn’t even sure in the moment that I’d even met the man.  (Thank you, morning wake up phone calls.)

My father told me I had, and the last time I’d seen him was at one of my cousin’s weddings, when I was quite young.  I barely recall that wedding, so it’s no surprise that I am having a hard time recalling my father’s father.  I imagine he looked like my father..or more accurately, my father looked like him.  My father and his brothers are all obviously related and I guess I have gone on the assumption that they got it from their father.

My grandmother I knew, even though she died when I was still young.  And my aunt I believe looked like her.  They both had/have the kindest smiles.

There are times, when it comes to death, that I go through a period of initial blocking.  Not always, but sometimes.  My brain decides it doesn’t want to necessarily deal with it, or just deal with it in parts.

This is definitely one of those times.

I honestly don’t know how to feel right now about not being aware he was alive, until finding out about his death.  I hadn’t heard anyone in my family mention him for so long that I just assumed he had passed, and considering when my grandmother died, I assumed he had died before her.

I feel sad because the passing of a life is never a good thing, but I definitely don’t feel the acute pangs of hurt like I do from those I was close to.

I certainly don’t feel any ill will toward not being kept up to date on him, considering no one had reached out to each other for a very long time.  I believe there were good reasons on the part of my parents for keeping their distance, and the decision was theirs.  At a point, it just became normal for him to not be any part of our lives.

Even still, I feel odd having not really known him.

He was family.  He was blood.  Yet he was a stranger.

I feel for those that were in his life, those that did know him and mourn his passing.  I feel for my father, for having lost his father for what I imagine feels like a second time.  I feel for my uncles and my aunt, and hope that they find comfort where they can for however they feel regarding this passing.

I am left with an awkward wonderment on who the man was aside from my biological grandfather.

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Mary

Wife, student, new first time mother. Crafter and creator. Animal enthusiast. I had a miscarriage in March 2011. But we tried again. March, 2012 was the birth of my first child. Off and on I have been dabbling with small business, trying to get it off the ground since, every so often changing direction.

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