My grandfather's memorial was today. It wasn't an official service - there was one of those but we weren't exactly invited. Long story. Anyway, my aunts and uncles and cousins came together to hold our own observance of his life, and it felt a little insufficient, but it was probably the best course of action we could take given all of the variables.
I have hazy, non-specific memories of my grandfather from my early childhood where he is happy and affectionate and sober. Unfortunately, the alcohol and his own bitterness progressively took center stage over the last 15+ years so all of my sharper memories of him are... well... less than warm and fuzzy. He generally tolerated the gay thing okay, which is to say that although he struggled to make eye contact with me (or M on the one occassion they shared physical space), he still spoke to me. When Elliot was born, I felt strongly that he travel to meethis only living great grandfather. I don't know if the baby factor crossed a line for him or he was just too drunk or sick by then, but he was outwardly hostile on that visit. Once I'd had my fill of inquiries about why I'd "given up" on men and comments about my son being a product of science rather than a relative, we decided to leave early. Henever held Elliot. That was the last time I saw him.
Tonight, I am trying to remember him as he was when I came into the world - loving, feisty, fun and hard-working - and I'm trying to forget the rest. The last few years were rough, but I have to remind myself there were many good times way back when. I just wish I could remember more of them.