Well, I’m not really sure what to write here but I’ve been told writing can help work through things, so I’ll give it a shot.
I’ll start with a little bit of background. I grew up in a small college town in Missouri, raised by my maternal grandparents. Dad was in the military and not around much, and my mom…well, she was around, and we (my brother and I) visited her frequently and spent weekends sometimes. I’ll kind of leave things there with my parents, that’s a longer story for another time.
Anyway, we had a pretty good childhood, nothing abnormally traumatic or abusive or anything like that.
Grandpa was a bit strict and grouchy sometimes, but not mean or anything, more just bullheaded I think (former military, old-school), and as I got older I came to understand him more and more. We didn’t get along much in my upper teens as I was becoming a bit bullheaded myself, but pretty much as soon as I moved out our relationship became really great! I hope you’re not getting the wrong impression of him, he truly is a great man, and was a fantastic role model growing up. The good more than overshadowed the occasional frustrations. He’s still kickin’, just turned 87. Physically, still in pretty good shape for his age, he has a bit of macular degeneration, mild Parkinson’s, mild Type II Diabetes, and high blood pressure, but all well managed. Mentally, well, we’re pretty sure he has Alzheimer’s. And I don’t know what, but he has or had some other sort of mental illness, but the family won’t talk about it. All I know is he is on a bunch of medications that I myself am getting more and more familiar with as I work to manage my anxiety and depression. I suspect maybe PTSD from serving in Korea, but I don’t know. Like I said, nobody will talk about it. If it’s something else, though, that might better explain my own issues as being genetic (my mom is also on medication for bi-polar disorder and depression, same with my brother).
My grandma was a wonderful woman. She was loving and kind, and did everything in her power to see to it that we were exposed to the arts and culture and encouraged and supported us in everything we did. My brother and I were both in band and loved it, and she saw to it that we had every possibility that presented to us. By career she was a teacher, though she was retired. Not sure when that was, sometime before we came around, probably due to health. I know she had a couple heart attacks before we were born. Sadly she passed away in 2006 due to complications of breast cancer at age 69.
Long story short there, they made sure our childhood was happy, made sure we were raised with morals and respect. I’m truly grateful for them, I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for them, and the alternatives would not have been nearly as positive.
Think that’s a good place to stop for now. I kinda got on a roll there and still have more to say.
Til next time…