This weekend I got the privilege to be company to a seemingly [because moments captured in photographs and things seen at a passing glance can be flawed unless viewed more holistically, not to take anything from him or anyone else, hence the word, seemingly] great man, a family man, a veteran.
As much as I was there to assist him, he was more than independent, only solidly soliciting my help a total of two times. Two times he absolutely could not do for himself what he required aid for.
He was one of those people we meet in life that further help us transform. I kid you not, spending time with him further grew me. I am better because I met him.
However, on the other side of this good thing were the gut wrenching growing pains of…
- “What’s going to happen to Daddy?”
- “Who will do this for him?”
- “How would he be in a place like this, as pleasant as it is?”
….and the list goes on.
My heart felt dyslexic. Like: ‘this place is a great senior home but is it a bad thing to leave him here’, ‘I don’t want him to ever feel lonely and alone but he can’t live in my home like I dreamed anymore…’ and this breaks my heart.
It used to be second nature to think that the man that raised me and first taught me love would spend the end parts of his 120 allotted years living amongst myself and my family but not anymore.
My heart has had a hard time separating him from what he has become.
He is still the beautiful grandfather that gave me everything he could. The same man that rubbed vicks on my chest as I giggled and coughed and chased his loving hands away being annoyingly ticklish. He is still the love that raised me. Sacrificed for me.
But my heart won’t let go of his unveiled face.
I forgive him every moment that my emotions remember and I guard my mind against judgement and hate. I do not embrace the negative but I can never ignore it.
How do you protect your first love in his old age when during your transformation and transitions into who you now are; this healed, whole individual, surfaced truths you could have never imagined true?
When you grow up simultaneously abused and sheltered and always being sure of one safe place, isn’t it devastating to then find out that your safe place was only safe for you?
That the friends you brought home were on the menu so to speak???
Though he loved me, though he never abused me, though he protected me with his own life…he was the monster in the consensual lives of others.
The greatest anomaly I have ever encountered in this life has to be him.
(Hmmm, maybe it was the love of God and this is second. God’s love makes no sense at all but man is it good!)
Does consent adjust the parameters of pedophilia? Because I struggled for years with no’s I never said and yes’s that I did. I have the scars to commemorate.
Every yes I said was safe. But the monster in receipt of my green light was undeserving. They helped me help them hurt me.
That is the now revealed person of my grandfather. The love that raised me.
The unveiled truth of a loving guardian who grooms and befriends children until old enough to say yes and old enough to be called adults and old enough to convince himself that it is therefore okay to engage. Children who blossomed before his eyes.
I have always been disgusted with the men in the community I grew up in, who sat around waiting on us girls to grow up. Unashamedly waiting for us to ‘ripe’.
Every woman as young as his children. Their friends and now mine. My friends.
I forgive him but in whose home will he live?
January 15, 2018.