My grandfather and I have never had what you would call a healthy relationship. In fact, his relationship with my immediate family has been downright deplorable. My father and he have almost never had a loving relationship. There are probably many reasons for that... I'm sure both sides are extremely guilty. I did live my life hearing the stories from one side, however, and I felt the impact. So, I admit that my immediate thoughts about the man are probably extremely tainted.
I never felt love from the man. In fact, I never felt even a smidgen of approval from him until both of my parents were in the hospital at the same time. He was in my father's hospital room when I came rushing in, just an hour after I had left Penn Station from my Amtrak train, arriving as fast as I could from Syracuse. He was apparantely impressed with my response, and my devotion to my parents. I thought that was very sweet of him.
I remember him being at the hospital only a few times more after that. I kept a bedside vigil.
Other family members have told me he was beginning to try. Beginning to attempt to bridge those gaps. I never quite felt that. But, I suppose I was willing to give it the benefit of doubt. Maybe.
My grandfather had a large birthday party not too long ago. I skipped that party, and instead spent a day with someone in an attempt to fix a broken relationship. It was a wonderful day, probably one of the best we had in recent memory. Of course, that eventually failed... and currently that relationship is in a worse state than it has ever been. Probably more like null and void.
I could have spent that day trying to repair my relationship with my grandfather instead. But, I felt strange about that - why should I make the first steps, when he never even glanced in my direction? Maybe he couldn't. Maybe he didn't know what to do. Instead, I am now left with two failed relationships. One I highly doubt can be ever fixed. The other... I'm afraid time might be running out.
I am at work today. I have many things I need to get out of the door, so I'm going to do my best to finish off what needs to get done. Tomorrow I'll most likely spend the day in the hospital. A hospital I know all too well, since my parents have been residents within more frequently than I care to remember. As good of a son I was to them, I will now try to be a good grandson.
I'll do what I have to do.