Aiden’s Grandfather

What can one say…

I was floored by my son’s request this morning.
It has been on my mind ever since. A heaviness in my heart.
I shared it with a couple of friends who were sympathetic.

These are the kinds of things that stop me in my tracks.

 

Blake is my older son and the father of six-year old Aiden.

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Aiden ready for his day.  Notice his “sword”.

Aiden is bright, engaged, mischievous.

He is a blessing. He is blessed with a loving family.

He enjoys a loving relationship with his maternal Grandfather and two maternal Great-Grandfathers.

The highlight of his summer is to spend time with his mother’s family on the family farm in Kansas riding the tractor and “helping” with the chores.

Someone is missing.

On his paternal side, there are no close male relatives.

His paternal grandfather  (my husband) died  before he was born.

He does have a loving, paternal grandmother (me!).

Somehow in his young mind, he has come to realize that he is missing a grandfather. His Dad’s Dad to be exact.

There are pictures in his house and mementos of his Grandfather Dan.

His Dad tells him stories about Grandfather Dan who died before he was born.

We never thought much about it. We shelved the story of his Grandfather Dan for when he was older.

In the back of our collective minds, we have been a bit wistful at times wishing that Dan was still alive to know and enjoy his little grandson.

He would be a terrific, loving grandparent teaching Aiden to fish, ride bikes and motorcycles, repair cars and everything else.

We have felt this loss for Aiden.

However, we did not really think about Aiden missing him.

In school, he made a family poster with pictures of all of his relatives.

Perhaps that is when he started to realize that there was a key person missing.

At family gatherings, his Mother’s family gathers en masse. On his Dad’s side, it is usually just me.

He started sleeping with his departed Grandfather Dan’s racing jersey under his pillow.

Then last night, he fell apart. His Mom and Dad tried to comfort him while he sobbed that he just “wanted to talk with my Grandfather Dan”.

Tears welled up when my son told me his response.

“Yes, I know Aiden. I miss my Dad too and I want talk with him.”

 

Loss is universal

This incident stopped my world.

It reminded me of the scene from The Little Prince when the pilot stopped working to comfort the little Prince who is worried about his rose being eaten by a sheep.

“On his fifth day in the desert, the little prince wonders if his new sheep will eat both bushes and flowers. The pilot, who is trying to repair his plane, replies that sheep will eat anything, and the little prince asks him what use a flower’s thorns are if they don’t protect the flower. The pilot, frustrated with his engine and worried by his lack of food and water, yells that he is too busy with “serious matters” to answer the prince’s questions. Furious, the little prince accuses the pilot of acting like a grown-up instead of seeing what’s really important. The little prince argues that if a truly unique flower exists on a person’s planet, nothing is more important than wondering if a sheep will eat that flower. He then bursts into tears. Suddenly realizing that his new friend’s happiness is the most serious matter of all, the narrator cradles the little prince in his arms and comforts him by assuring the little prince that his flower will be fine. He offers to draw a muzzle for the sheep.

“If some one loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy. . . . But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out.”

The request

“Would you be willing to send some of your pictures of Dad so I can hang them in Aiden’s room?” my son asked after telling me the story of Aiden’s meltdown.

Of course, I will send photos.

I will send mementos.
I will make it a point to travel to Denver often.
I will video chat weekly when I can’t be there.
I will send letters to Aiden.

These things will make me feel better.

I hope they will make Aiden feel better.

A silver lining

This incident drew me closer to my son as it provided an opportunity to talk about the loss of his Dad.

Young men trying to grow into manhood often don’t talk about feelings even in tragic circumstances.

Mothers learn not to ask, not to probe.  We just wait.

There was one wry comment about “now being a member  of the Dead Dad’s Club”. Otherwise, neither of my sons have spoken very much about the death of their Dad.

They sat stony-faced at his funeral.

My sweet grandson Aiden,

You will never know your  Grandfather Dan.
You are his only grandson. You will carry on the family name.

Someday, if you are lucky, you will share stories of the grandfather you never met with your children.

Just know that every time your Dad hugs you he is passing on the love he received from his Dad.

Your Dad and I also miss him and “just want to talk to him” once more.

Love, Oma

All the Little Children of the World

Mother and Son

 

People in this post

Blake:  my son and the father of Aiden

Aiden:  Blake’s son and my grandson

Dan:  Blake’s Dad, Aiden’s Grandfather Dan, my late husband

 

 

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “Aiden’s Grandfather

  1. Dear Lori, I was so conscious of my parents getting to meet all 17 their grandchildren, and grateful for those years – they both lived until 80 – and my husband’s parents (82 & 84) get to see their four grandchildren very often as they live fairly close by. However, I may yet one day stand in your shoes…who’s to know? My boys are 18 and 21. I value what you share, because my eyes open to what I don’t know. Even if it never happens to me, I will have more insight when someone is missing a Dad or an Oupa. It is wonderful, the continuity of Blake passing on the love he received from his father to Aiden. ❤ Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful to have such loving family in your lives and those of your children. It is true that we often don’t know what lies around the corner. The best laid plans…Yet, by being mindful and thinking about things I believe we can maximize our present day joy and develop resources, both external and internal, to help cope with whatever comes our way. Your comments are always heartfelt, kind and meaningful. Thank you! Hugs, Lori

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Lori, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing the intensity of your loss all over again. But this is such a wonderful chance to share your husband with his grandson, and strengthen the bonds of your family. Good coming from suffering! My son had a grandfather who lived near us for many years, and although we saw him often and in fact moved house to be nearer to that set of grandparents, he hardly ever spent time doing things with my son. He read to him when he was small, but wouldn’t help him make Lego, build things, take him places … none of the things we hoped for. My partner is away a lot for work so my boy has few active male role models. It seems your grandson has several fine men in his life and I am so glad for him.

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    1. I always appreciate your heartfelt comments. Your son’s grandfather missed out on a lot of joy. It is so fun to connect with little ones. Actually, I love connecting with teens and young adults as well. I am glad that your partner is in the picture even if not as much as you would like. I wish the best for your son. Are sons great? I never had a girl so boys are my only experience.
      Take care and enjoy your day. Hugs, Lori

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      1. Thanks Lori. I only have a son too, and believe passionately that young men are so much more than the stereotypes our culture offers. I’ve watched my son and his friends grow over the years, and am still surprised by their capacity to surprise me. The grandfather did miss out on so much, but it was his choice. My son’s loss is through no fault of his own, and I do feel a little bitter.
        Thanks for your good wishes. All the best to you too. Cheers, Su.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dolores, I am sorry that you never knew your Grandparents. Such a loss! Even as an adult with a wonderful family such as you have, I imagine that those hurts never completely dissolve. That sense of longing for what never was can make us more compassionate and more appreciative.
      Thank you for sharing this bit of your past.
      Thank you also for being such a lovely, kind and considerate friend. Hugs, Lori

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  3. Somehow I relate to Aiden: growing up I only ever knew my father’s parents (and they were amazing!), but I remember there being a time I didn’t understand why everyone in my class had two of each and I didn’t and it made me sad. I wish I’d known my other grandparents and I love it when my mother talks about them. I think the pictures of your late husband and the stories will surely cheer Aiden (and your sons) up! Even if they never get to meet each other (in life), being told the tales and being included in the family’s history can make all the difference for your grandson. Bless Aiden’s heart, and yours for stepping in and being so open and helpful.

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  4. Thank you for your very sweet response and for sharing a bit of your experience as a child. Children are uncomfortable being “different” in any way. Not having the a complete family could make a child feel insecure as well as sad. I am so glad that you had your paternal grandparents and a sensitive mother who surrounded you with love and family history.
    I do believe that our departed loved ones live on in our thoughts and story telling of them.
    My new granddaughter is named Mabel after her great grandmother. Just saying her name Mabel brings back happy memories.
    Have a great week. Hugs, Lori

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  5. A very moving post, Lori. We adults don’t always know the depth of attachment or of the emptiness its loss leaves in the hearts of children. Adults can more easily express themselves if they choose. Sometimes for children it’s not so easy to find the words that match their feelings.

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  6. Loss always ripples out, doesn’t it? And continues to affect people who are connected to the people who are wrestling with it… So sorry for all of you, including the small boy who is now missing the person he knows should have been at the heart of his family, and isn’t. But it is also about his coming to terms with the knowledge that life is finite. He is lucky to have so many wise, loving people around him to sustain him and teach him how people live on in our memories and that part of his grandfather will always be in his heart as he carries within him those photos and the stories of his life. Hugsx

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  7. I can so relate to this as our daughters never got to know their paternal grandfather. Even so they’ve heard so much about him they almost forget he was never a real presence in their lives.

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  8. I certainly relate to Aiden. I grew up as a little girl who was told both my grandfathers died before I was born. I certainly felt the lack but my grandmothers and parents did fill the lack. I believe you will be able to fill in the gaps in Aiden’s life. He is very fortunate. At school many children had both grandfathers but so many did not have fathers (ie second world war).I became grateful for simply having Mum and Dad……..but…..this is the heart-searing there is something ‘missing’. I think that’s why I have written my two books Marranga-Limga and now Legacy of Limga. With a hunger to know my own grandfathers I was able to express it in historical fiction where I travel with a family through the generational events leading to the ‘finding out’ of legacy and ancestry. If interested link to Marranga-Limga is still on its own website. http/:www.marranga-limga.com
    Have a great week Lori and hugs from me. Hug for Aiden….I hope you are able to paint a picture of love and nurture to be a blessing to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was just beautiful. The idea that this little one is missing someone he never met, shows the love that surrounds him. Many children have grandparents and even though they’re still alive…they are never encouraged to get to know them.
    As long as Aiden is told of his grandpa, his grandpa will live on. What a beautiful thing. ❤️

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    1. Thank you Ellen. He really is a sweet little boy. He reminds me of his father (my son Blake) when he was a child.
      I hope all is well with you. Have a great weekend.

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  10. Your post made me cry….it’s so touching and I know what your son and grandson are feeling. My dad saw his two oldest granddaughters grow to 6 and 8, but died from cancer before my younger sister’s three children were born. We talk about him a lot and share memories and pictures but I know it’s not the same. I often think of how much he has missed in the 13 years he’s been gone, and what we have missed with him gone, and it makes me sad. But I find comfort (or try to) in knowing he lives inside of my sisters and me, with the memories and love that only an amazing dad can provide long after he’s gone. Sending hugs to you and your family! xoxo

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    1. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. It is sad when our children and grandchildren miss out on the love of departed family members. Sending hugs and blessings to you and your family.

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  11. It took me a week or so to comment on this post, Lori, because I am so touched by your story and by your grandson, Aiden. This story is lovely, heartwarming, and so very sad for all the obvious reasons. What is left unsaid is how well he is being raised. For a child this young to understand the essence of life, he is of course a very special boy but he has also been instructed by the many adults around him to value that which is truly worthy. You will comfort him many times in his life and he will comfort you as well, as he has. Your little prince. Best wishes to all of you.

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  12. Beautifully written…raw, emotional. Who among us can not relate to much of what you described???? A touching, personal beautiful expression of love…thanks for sharing with all of us…..

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  13. My son asks me frequently about Grampa Dave. “What was he like? What were the things he liked to do? Would he have loved me?” I answer these questions as best I can. I never would have though that he would actually feel the loss of a Grandfather he has never met. He has a lot of surrogate grandfathers. But not my Dad. They don’t fill the void he’s looking for. I truly thought that I was one of the only ones answering these questions. Thank you for posting that with such emotion. Its much appreciated.

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