I was recently asked, “If you could meet one person in history, who would it be?”
While I would love to talk about civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. or smoke a joint and write a song with John Lennon, or go on a date with Marilyn Monroe, the person from history I would most like to meet is my maternal grandfather.
My grandfather died several years before I was born. I know very little about him other than that my name comes from his middle name, Richard.
I know he was and English teacher who also taught Drama. I know he served his country with dignity and honor. I know he worked hard and loved his children and my grandmother very much.
But all those things are peripheral. I wish I could spend a few hours with him learning about what made him tick. What was his favorite sports? What were his favorite books? What were his dreams as a child? What were his dreams as an adult?
I know he must have been a great man because all three of my maternal uncles are amazing men. I didn’t have the benefit of a loving father. He abandoned me when he got remarried and wanted to start a new family with no reminders of the children he left behind. But all three of my uncles have been there for me throughout all my struggles to mature and fight my way through life.
I know my grandfather must have been a great man because my grandmother loved him. She was the most important figure in my life growing up. Where my mother seemed incapable of using the words “I love you” or “I’m proud of you”, my grandma was always there to pick up the slack. And when my grandmother remarried, she told her new husband “I will be a good wife for you, but when I die, I’m being buried with James.” She loved him that much. She wanted to spend eternity with him.
I don’t know if my grandfather would approve of the person I’ve grown up to be. I have certainly made a lot of mistakes and I am still far from perfect. But I like to think that I’ve grown to be a person worthy of being loved. And it would be my hope that he would love me.
Who knows what happens when we die. Does our life energy find its way back via reincarnation? Do we spend eternity in Heaven? Or is this our one shot and we just cease to be when our earthly bodies give out?
If there is a Heaven, and I am fortunate enough to get there, I hope I’ll be able to meet my grandfather. I hope that he will love me. That would be nice.
Peace. Love Trust.