It’s Complicated

by shelbyisrad

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Love of all forms is complicated {understatement of the year}.

What’s really complicated is when the most sincere love you have from somebody, is complicated for others. Does that make sense?
It does to me. Because it is basically the relationship I had with my grandpa. My grandma has said more than once “You’re the only person he truly loved” in regards to my grandpa since his death. She tells me I am the only person he ever truly loved, not her, or his first wife, or his six children, or my brother. But me, the girl who was terrified of men her entire life captured the heart of a man who was seen as gruff, strict, and honestly straight up mean by his wife of more than 40 years and the children he raised.

Grandpa was an alcoholic (but had not touched alcohol for years by the time we moved in), a Captain in the Navy — he was strict, militaristic, he married my Grandma, and they had a very rocky and complicated relationship.

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But I did not know this man. My grandpa opened his home, heart and arms, to a 10 and 11 year old when their mother dropped the ball. The 11 year old was an angry hurt boy, and the ten year old was a little girl who feared the world, but presented a shiny bright smile to the world loving it unconditionally. Maybe this is why Grandpa loved me so? Because he saw the hurting, but also saw how I always tried to give only love.

My grandpa, the man I knew read the paper every morning and saved the funnies for me.

He drove my brother, neighbors, and I down to the bus stop anytime it rained.

He loved huge blueberry muffins, and his coffee black.

He got teary eyed when I came into the living room in my long purple dress for eighth grade formal and went on and on about how pretty I was.

He did the same when I was in 9th grade wearing a lime green gown for military ball.

He  did again and insisted on a picture with me when I was in my bright blue dress for my junior prom.

And once again in my little blue and black dress for my senior year prom, and he said he couldn’t believe how grown up I looked.

He was always willing to drive me anywhere I needed to be and we always listened to talk radio. He didn’t even complain when he had to get up and take me to work every day of the summer at 6AM and he was glad to pick me up if needed too.

He bought me box after box of saltine crackers, and frosted mini wheats after the first time I told him they were my favorite.

He scooped me ice cream every night when the ice cream was too frozen for me to get it out easily.

When I went away to college he told me how much he missed me in the mornings, I got two coffee mugs made with my picture on them and he used them nearly every day.

He hugged me and kissed me as if it had been years when I came home every single weekend my freshmen year.

Even as he got sicker from Parkinson’s Disease and Cancer, he would light up every time I came home.

He may not have been the best husband or father, but I believe he gained some sort of redemption by being the greatest Grandpa a broken little girl could’ve ever needed.

Today is his birthday, and I miss him greatly. RIP Grandpa

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