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Postby Hegemon » Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:17 am

How many of you guys really got to know your grandparents?

The topic has been on my mind for about 3 years now. Pretty much ever since I got into law school I have wondered what they would think about me if they knew me.

So far my track list is as follows:
-- Mother's father died 10 yrs before I was born
-- Father's mother died 3 yrs after I was born
-- Mother's mother died 13 years after I was born
-- Father's father looks like he might be dying soon'ish (looked like a stroke, but turns out to be a diabetic coma coupled with pneumonia -- health isn't great regardless of stroke or not).

Of the list, 3 were alive at my birth, but i only have memories of the latter two.

My grandmother died when I was still at a rather awkward age. Unlike a number of people here who excelled at school from day one, I actually went through a lot of highs and lows. I was a somewhat troubled kid, with a lot of trouble concentrating on stuff that I felt was basically below me. Recently when i saw an old teacher of mine, he remarked that my mind always seemed like it was elsewhere, which is a pretty apt description.

Anyways, on the 18th of June 94 she had a stroke and then died as a vegetable of sorts in March 95. Interestingly enough, on pretty much the same day this year, the 16th of June, my grandfather had what we thought was a stroke. As a side, the numbers of it intrigued me, because it seems like a strange coincidence to have 2 grandparents get strokes on the exact same friday of the same month, exactly 13 yrs apart (particularly when i am almost exactly 26 yrs old). It's a safe bet that 13 yrs from now, if I remember this, I am gonna s*** myself from worry.

Well, my grandmother and I never got along too well. Like i said, i was sorta troubled and generally unruly. I also lacked the warmth that is so common in my family. I tend to be rather cold by nature and i think that must've bothered her since my cousins were always into hugs and kisses, where i could barely force myself to touch her. I imagine as I got older, I might've found more of a common ground with her and gotten along better. Plus I eventually became a bit less of an arrogant prick. Not much less, but a bit.

As for my grandfather.... the man's an idiot who doesn't speak a word of English. Just so you know, he's not an idiot because he doesn't speak English... he'd be an idiot in any language. I don't mean that as an insult either. He's a really nice, sweet and (IMO) overly emotional man. Just not too sharp. Anyways, for most of my life he was in Greece, so I haven't seen him too much...

Then you have the other two grandparents... my mother was very close with her dad and he died around finals of her first year in college.... that really fucked her up big time... caused her to leave school and make a number of seriously mistakes, culminating in my existence. Technically I wasn't a mistake.... i was actually planned.... but in many ways that makes it a lot worse...

And finally you have my father's mother. By all accounts a remarkably smart woman. Very good mathematical skills and fully literate, which is particularly impressive since she got no formal schooling after grade 2 and was totally self taught. Plus she was tough as hell. Around 70 or so she broke her arm travelling to Canada (back then it was a 2 day journey from Greece) and she waited until she got here to get it set and fixed.

My grandfather's potentially impending demise has made me think a lot of grandparents in general. I am a little bit unnerved by the fact that I don't really care too much about his dying. I am more unnerved by the fact that I am pretty pissed that there is no profit in it for me.

What has always pissed me off is that the only grandparent of mine to have seen me become an adult was this one. The one that I could never have ever really gotten all that attached to. My mother's parents wouldn't have had the language barrier *plus they were interesting in their own right* and my father's mother had an intellect and strength of character that would've made me feel like learning Greek was worthwhile if it meant getting to know her.

How many of you got to know your grandparents well? How many of you still have them? Are you close to them?

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Postby Dr. Mobius » Tue Jun 19, 2007 3:54 am

I've had the fortune of knowing all my grandparents and even some of my great grandparents (dad's mother's parents) rather well. They all live(d) nearby and most of them survived into my teen years and beyond. And although I never knew her, one of my great-great grandparents was still around for the early years of my life.

We have a generations photo around here somewhere that has my great-great grandma, my great grandma, my grandma, and my dad holding baby me. If I can find it, I'll scan it and post it here.

Currently I'm left with my dad's mom and her mom, my great grandma.
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Postby Luet » Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:49 am

I was fortunate to have all four of my grandparents in my life until my early twenties. I wasn't particularly close to any of them (they lived about 2 hours away) but I saw them all multiple times a year. A couple years after I got married, 3 out of my 4 grandparents died within a year and a half. My father's mother by suicide, then his father from a massive heart attack, then my mother's father from a stroke.

My mother's mother is still alive and in her mid 80s. She has survived breast and colon cancer and is almost totally blind from macular degeneration but still lives on her own in Florida, which is pretty amazing.
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Postby Eaquae Legit » Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:21 am

My mother's father died when she was in university.
My father's mother died when he was a child.
My mother's mother died when I was in grade five, but she lived out on the coast and I think I met her 4 or 5 times that I could remember. She also had dementia later in life (even managed to burn her own house down), which makes it tough for a small kid to get to know one.
My father's father died when I was in grade six. We had gone up to visit him every summer, and I do have a lot of fond memories of him, and I miss him and wish I'd been able to know him as an adult.

For a time, I was sad that all my grandparents were dead, but then I smartened up.

My father's stepmother is still alive, and she's always been "Grandma." I love her to bits, and she's a part of our family just as much as if we were related by blood. She's coming to visit us this summer (she needs a surgery she can get here), and I'm very excited for her to come. I'm also going to visit her when I go camping later, which is super-exciting for her because she lives five hours north and doesn't get many visitors. If I go camping again later in the summer, I'll probably go have lunch with her again.

I do have a tendency to adopt other people's grandparents. And I really, really want my own parents to not have heart attacks, stroked, aneurysms, or lung diseases, because I want them to be around to get to know my eventual kids. So far, so good. :)
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Postby Petra456 » Tue Jun 19, 2007 10:49 am

My mom's father died while she was really young.
My mom's mother died when I was about six.
My dad's real father died when he was 11, and his step father (my grandpa) died when I was 12.
My dad still has his mother (she's 87 now) and I love her to bits.

I never really got close to my other grandparents. The one that's still alive is the one I was named after.
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Postby steph » Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:10 pm

I've been able to know all my grandparents. Only one has passed away, and that's my Dad's Mom (Maw-maw). She had a heart attack when I was in 5th grade. She was a southern woman.....and incredible cook and seamstress. She always cooked wonderful food when she would visit, and for every holiday imaginable she would make my sisters and I brand-new dresses. So even though she wasn't close in proximity, she was close to me through other ways. My Dad's Dad (Paw-Paw) is remarried, although I've never considered her my grandmother. Paw-Paw and Dee (his wife) still visited every couple of years and came shortly after Tyler was born. He's know on treatment for cancer, and I'm not sure I'll ever see him again. :(

My Mom's parents are still alive and well. Grandpa is turning 94 this year, and although his health is going down, he still goes on a walk everyday and enjoys life with a great group of friends he's kept in touch with over the years. He was born in my hometown, so he tells stories about life in Loveland in the early days. He even went to my same highschool! Grandma is 9 years younger than Grandpa, so she's in better health. She's vibrant and serves the community well. She currently runs a program at church that makes and donates quilts to local nursing homes, women's shelters, etc, and they've made over 150 so far. I've also been spending time with her recently learning some of her secrets: last fall I helped her can 164 (I think! It may have been more) quarts of apples and grapes. Just a month ago, she taught me how to make her cinnamon rolls, and a few years ago she taught me how to make her incredible blackberry cobbler. These grandparents have been a huge part of my life. They've been around for every concert or event I've ever been involved in. They even drove out to Las Vegas for my graduation 4 years ago. Every holiday dinner is at their house, and my cousins and I had countless sleepovers there. They also went camping with us all the time as kids.

I've been lucky to know all my grandparents very well. I'll be sad when they pass. But it will be a new chapter to create new family traditions (which I think will be fun), because most of our surround around them.
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Postby ender1 » Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:24 pm

My dad's father died 3 years before I was born
I have only met my mom's father probably twice in my whole life.
My father's mother died this past November
My mom's mother is still alive and I see her every few weeks

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Postby daPyr0x » Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:28 pm

I have 6 grandparents. 4 of them are still alive today, though relationships with them are strained.

My dad's mom and step-mom's dad both died before I could really get to know them. I have vivid memories of both of them and really wish I could have gotten to know them better before their time came.

My dad's father has had his share of health troubles, a couple strokes and a triple bypass and diabetes and all that. It saddens me so because there are many things I wish to learn from him and his mental capacity is not of someone who can teach them anymore. I get to see him a couple times a year; but those are becoming less and less frequent as his mobility diminishes along with my dad's. I don't think he understands what's happening to his son, and that's the most depressing part of it all.

My step-mom's mom suffers from dementia (among other things). She has always been "crazy" (as her 3 loving sons refer to her) but things have disintegrated to the point that for the most part we don't talk to her anymore. Not because we don't want to, but because talking to her inevitably means getting into a religion-surrounded argument. Apparantly Jesus never stayed up late bonding with his disciples around a bonfire... He also never drank wine, because alcohol is of the devil. She lives in an addition on my dad's house, so we see her often.

My mom's parents are an interesting case. Of their 4 children and 3 grandchildren my mom and I are the only ones who will speak to them. That comes and goes, too, as that relationship often gets strained as well. I don't know all the history there, but I have my suspiscions. I get to see them once every few years, as they live out in Nova Scotia.
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Postby Mahatma » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:20 am

I was very close to my maternal grandmother; she died when I was 17. I'll always miss her.

My maternal grandfather died when I was 4, so I don't really remember him, just what people have told me.

My grandmother remarried when I was 9, and he became 'grandpa', and I'm still close to him.

My paternal grandmother died before I was born, and her mother died when I was 10. I wasn't that close to her, but she was a very sweet lady and I know my dad misses her a lot.

My paternal grandfather is still alive, but we've never been too close. He has, er, emotional issues and doesn't show affection well, if at all.

Sometimes I get sad when people talk about their grandparents and I wish I still had my grandma. But I guess I'm lucky -- I got to have that great relationship with her as a kid. :)
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