The Divorced Son: Part Eight | Reflections
My Grandfather from my mother’s side was like a father to me. My father left, because he was defeated. My mother was there but she wasn’t. She pursued Randy and a life of barhopping. When I was 12, I was pretty much in charge of my brother and myself. I didn’t want to be. I have always looked for a father figure. Even in my older age. Everyone wants a father figure.
My Grandpa Weber was the father figure as I grew from 8 years old up through college. You see, my brother and I listened to the lectures he would tell us. They were full of knowledge. He told us stories of when he was in the Army in 1944. He gave us wisdom that the Army gave to him. They told him in the cafeteria that you could take what you want, but eat all you take. He talked about his favorite 6 letter word, THINK. I told him it was 5 letters, he told me T-H-I-N-K-!. Even though the exclamation mark isn’t a letter, it still sunk in. He also always told us to work smarter, not harder. He lectured and lectured and lectured. One day, when we were older, we turned to him and lectured him all his lectures back at him. He just stared and was dumbfounded that we listened. We told him that he was the only one ever telling us anything. He really was our father in spirit.
My grandfather was always upset at my mom and my dad. He disinherited my mom several times, especially after she married Randy. He tried to protect us. He talked to my dad when he showed up in Arizona. He would just shake his head when he talked to him. I think he lost more hair because of my mom and dad.
Grandpa Weber was a staunch German, and he was not good at sharing feelings. I learned from him, from his opposites. He could never say the words needed to be said. I remember when I was in college and I ended the call by saying “I love you, Grandpa, and I miss you.” That phone call I got a genuine “I love you and I miss you too.” Every phone call after that was just a phrase, because he couldn’t lose control of his emotions.
At the end of his life, he was put into a home for the elderly. He had dementia, which was aging my grandmother from the severity of how he treated her. We didn’t want to put him in a home. My grandmother thought she found a good place. The people that took care of him, didn’t. They left him in dirty diapers and created an infection that turned into Gangrene. The doctors took a piece of him at a time, and he could no longer talk to us, just kind of moan. It was sad. He couldn’t tell us what he wanted to at the end. I learned to tell everyone the words I think at that moment. I don’t waste time not telling people things that mean something. I learned so much from him. He was a great man.
I hold a part of him in my heart always. I lecture my students some of the lectures he lectured me. THINK! and Work Smarter, Not Harder are two that I bring to all of my students. They have no idea what these ideas mean to me. I share his wisdom, because he would want me to. I miss him dearly.
If you look for father figures in your life there is really only one father to look toward. Our Father in Heaven is always there. He uses so many people in our lives to guide us to Him, but we try to steer away from Him. It is hard to see it, until you try. God has saved me from so many of my own mistakes. He kept me on the pathway toward Him, and I keep trying to ruin it. My sin takes hold of me, and sometimes I let it. When I reach for the Bible, I am reaching for Him and everything gets better. Oh, it doesn’t feel better. I have to fight the sin that promises it will feel better to go that way. But, when I follow Him I know what I choose and why. I feel better in the end.
My grandfather met my grandmother at a USO. They were both engaged to other people. They broke those relations off to be together. My life wouldn’t have happened if God hadn’t intervened. My grandfather saw God in my grandmother, but he refused Him all his life. Yet, he stayed with her, and she continued to believe and go to church. I think he wanted to believe in Jesus, but he was damaged inside. We all are.
I love you Grandpa. I know you are with God.
Ready for Part 9?
Sample these related posts:
To return to the beginning of the Divorced Son series.
To read part 7, about my dad.
To read part 5, about Grandma Weber.
To read part 3, about Randy.
To consider the "fathers" in your life.