Letting go…and letting it be


As some of you may have read in past posts of mine my grandfather ( the father of my natural mother ) passed away this past July. I had mixed emotions when processing his death as he was a core stone in the decision to place me for adoption. Most of the stories I have heard about my grandfather were unpleasant, he ruled with an iron fist, what he said went, and there wasn’t much laughter between him and the children. My mother came from a very large family, and at the time of my surrender her twin sister was also pregnant, and the 8 children and 2 parents were living in a 3 bedroom house, times couldn’t have been easy. As its been reflected to me my grandfather came to my mother on my 3rd day of life, at the hospital and told her she’d be coming home without me, and that it was time to go, and she did. Taking me home wasn’t an option and the shame he placed upon her thereafter when she got home, has infuriated me for years. When my grandfather passed this past July, I didn’t cry.
I met him once, I remained very quiet, I was unwed and pregnant with my first child when we met ( fitting I know.) He seemed joyous, he seemed good spirited, he told me stories, all of the stories he’d want me to know about him, how he swam around the pier in a contest and won in our town, how he decapitated men in Vietnam and earned the nickname the head hunter, he told me story after story and I just listened. Before I left as I went in for a hug he told me how wise men always listen, and the stupid ones talk forever and then he laughed hysterically and I left.
I woke up early on the day of his funeral and dressed my three daughters. I was nervous. We bought new black dresses for the occasion the day before, and I may have barely slept an hour that night. Not because I was weeping his loss, but because I was seeing all of my family the next day. All of my cousins, aunts, uncles, family I’ve never met, I will be there as my mothers daughter…I’m there known as her daughter. Me, her daughter, being recognized as her daughter. I didn’t have to stand in the back like the fly on the window, in fact I was reserved a seat in the front FOR THE FAMILY of my grandfather. A whole row for my daughters and myself.
We got there and again my step father was waiting outside for us, my mother inside making sure all of the ribbons were fluffed, the flowers were perfect and every last detail was how she wanted. My mother devoted her life to him in his final years and wanted and ensured that every detail to the direction of the Ukulele was perfected. We went in, and there was my family… they hugged and embraced me, they kissed my children and told us how much they missed us. Let me just repeated that part for the sake of my adopted soul wanting to hear it again….they hugged, embraced and kissed my children and me, and told us how much they missed us. Music to my adopted heart and of course my tears gushed from my eyeballs.
We went into the room, upfront was this table that held pictures and items from his life deemed most important by my mother. A picture of him in the military, he was a US Maine whom received 2 purple hearts which lay over his picture. A ukulele in front with leis, a younger picture of him, and one of him near his age just before he’d passed. My aunts, uncles and his friends spoke to him and us about his life and impact on them, I learned so much about my grandfather that day, my favorite part was a short film my mother put together with the help of a local amateur film student ( who ended up being an adoptee from Korea.)  Not only were there pictures of my children and myself, but I saw my grandfathers life. He was so strong, he was so courageous, he actually got sent home from Vietnam in a Body bag, he was presumed dead, and only discovered to be alive after two days in the bag on a ship headed home with a death note. This man, was a hero. Suddenly this transformation in my thoughts and feelings towards him shifted and I couldn’t stop crying and grieving this lifetime we missed. He’s like the top of this pyramid of children, and family that all came from him, and here all I’d had for him was resentment and lack of compassion due to thinking he was the sole reason I was left behind and all I saw of him before me on this day at his funeral was how much he did for the lives of his children and how everything he did was to better their lives.
I think I cried all of my resentment away that afternoon. By the time we arrived to the after party where his sisters and family were singing old traditional Hawaiian songs with spoons and ukulele, dancing together and celebrating life I was home. My kids running around with their cousins laughing and playing card games. Eating, drinking, dancing in every corner we looked at, it was one of the most beautiful days of my life. I have never felt complete on the level I do now and have since that day. I don’t resent him anymore. I don’t know how or exactly when it happened but it’s just gone, gone. It happened. I was let go. It hurt me, he was a pivotal factor in letting me go, but he was amazing. I forgive him.

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