Until last Monday…
It seems like so much time has passed since last Monday, February 22, 2010. My grandfather, Ray McCarty, passed away that day. Obviously, last week was one of the worst weeks of my life. I am 27 years old and I have had the great fortune of having all 4 grandparents in my life…until last Monday.
Although my father passed away when I was 12 years old, the bond he and I shared will never be matched or replaced. However, my grandfather got to see me as an adult. He got to see me as I am now, or as I wanted him to see me. I would like to think he was proud of me. He said he was because I finished college. Finishing college was something he always wanted to do. I know that he probably felt not at peace with himself because he did not get a college degree.
However, Ray McCarty was one of the smartest men I knew. He was very intelligent. He read so many books. Our political and religious ideologies did not match, but I respected his ability to site text to back up his beliefs and thoughts. Again, even though his views differed from my own, I still respect his intelligence.
On our differing views and my grandfather really truly knowing me: I suppose my greatest regret is he not really knowing me. He knew me as a granddaughter who worked her way through college and has a job. He was a proud family man. However, he never knew the person I really am. I am a lesbian, LGBT activist, intersex activist, Unitarian Universalist. I have a wonderful partner. He met Jenny but he did not know the role she plays in my life. One of the most important roles… the role of the partner,, loving, warm, caring, kind, sweet person who I love.
He probably would have characterized our relationship as abominable and as living in sin. I prefer to think we live in love.
My grandfather was so great. He was a hard worker. For 54 years he was a barber. He only quit working because a stroke forced him to retire. However, he still kept a rather active lifestyle. He was stubborn to the core. He was intelligent. He loved us. He was my grandfather.
However, I know I must move forward with this life. And I know that in the end, it was better for him to know me as the person he knew me. Not the person I wanted him to know me as because then I might not have go to have a good relationship with him. I think it is most important that our relationship continued to move forward as grandfather and granddaughter because then we didn’t spend the end avoiding contact.
I am so glad and gratful to have the close family that I do. We are small and we sometimes do not get along, but we do love each other. That is the most important thing… we love each other.