May 29 is the anniversary of my biological maternal grandfather's death. I hesitated to write this post because I don't want to sound bitter. I'm not. I'm over it.
He wasn't a nice man.
My family remembers the better parts of his - his dog and his rose garden and all the damn Barbies he gave me.
They tend to forget the abuse, the knives, the police records with his name on it. The multiple wives, the army of young girlfriends (while he was married to the wives).
There was one wife in particular that stayed and put her life on the line for me once when I was 8. It's a bond she and I shared until Alzheimer's made her forget it; now I'm just another woman who sends her cards in the nursing home. I won't tell her exactly how I know her, ever. Dredging up though memories would hurt her more than enlighten her.
I found out about his death while I was at school. My mom came and told me. I was sad - for her, mostly. At his funeral, I sat like a rock. I wanted to stay and make sure dirt went over his casket, but a relative sort of led me away. Ive seen his headstone once - when we buried his brother, a WWII decorated veteran who kicked ass and took names.
I never called him Grandpa. It just didn't fit.
I'm sure he loved me. The best that kind of man can love anyone. He was an alcoholic and a gambler, which doesn't make him a bad person. He was just really messed up.