Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandfather’s birthday. He passed away when I was 11 years old and that was one of the single most impactful losses in my life. I remember the profound sense of helplessness, the dropping through the hole, clawing at nothing to stop yourself from falling out of control. I remember as a child believing that I would never lose him. I remember feeling his quiet strength and just thinking he was somehow invincible. When we lost him, that was the first time I saw my father cry even though it was my mother’s father we had just lost. My grandfather had an incredible impact on people and a sense of security and certainty about him that just calmed the situation. Loss is a tricky thing for kids to navigate and it’s traumatic so losing someone with that type of presence cuts deeply.
I started thinking about where I’ve been, especially amongst the unease I’ve been carrying for a few days. It got me thinking about where I’ve come from. I was incredibly close with my grandfather. I believe in a spiritual and astrological connection (feel free to disregard if you don’t). He was an Aries, I’m an Aries, and even my father’s father who I didn’t get to meet (he passed just before I was born) was an Aries. It’s the symbol of the fighter and we are strong. We are driven, we are leaders, we are visionaries. And even though I don’t have these gentleman physically with me, I feel their presence loud and clear in my veins, in the things I am driven to do.
I think it makes sense that I’ve been off kilter a bit lately, because the things I’ve been working on are incredibly focused and I haven’t taken the time to focus as I should. I’ve been doing the work I can every day, but it isn’t the work that I know is going to move things forward. I’m working to get myself stood up and clear on what I desire. And that is something I know my grandfathers both had in common: there was no mistaking what they wanted to do. There was no mistaking their goals or where they stood. Not that they were ruthless or heartless in their endeavors, far from it. Just that they were clear in their boundaries and focused on their tasks. Family meant everything to both of them. Relationships meant everything to them.
It’s hard to believe it’s been close to 30 years since I’ve lost him. I look at his picture in my office and wonder what things would have been like if he had stuck around a bit longer. I wonder what we could have done and what he would have said to me. It’s a strange thing to lose someone like this at a young age because your perception is that of a child, but their presence was so key. It’s easy to romanticize the idea you have of someone, but I feel good knowing that most of my stories were corroborated so the image I have of him is pretty right on.