When I was a girl of 10 my father was killed suddenly in a car accident. A couple days after the accident my entire extended family was gathered at my home and I saw my grandpa sitting off in the corner. My grandpa was the toughest guy I knew, a Korean War Vet and farmer, I knew that he was hurting on the inside. I went over to him and put my little hand in his and said “Grandpa, will you give me away at my wedding?” My tough old grandpa choked up and said “Nothing would make me happier Rachie.” Three years ago he walked me down the aisle.
Since that moment, Grandpa and I were bonded and whenever I was at their farm I always wanted to be with him. I never felt like I was missing a father because I had the masculine love and support of my grandpa. This past Saturday I lost that support and for the first time in my life I feel fatherless.
I have a lot of fun and wonderful memories with my grandpa but the biggest influence he had on me was my sense of honesty. I used to like to help him with his work on the farm and we spent many summer days out repairing fences, checking cattle, cutting down trees. We worked hard in sweaty silence until grandpa said we deserved a break and he would bust out a couple cans of coke and we would sit and talk.
We all cherish our summers on the farmHe always liked to talk to me about the importance of honesty and how I had to always tell the truth no matter who it hurt. I sometimes wondered what had happened in his life that he would repeat this message to me any chance he got but it worked. I took those lessons in honesty from the man I loved like my own father and I made sure to live my life like that.
I’ll admit, it hasn’t made me the most popular person. Many friends refuse to shop with me because they don’t like my answer if they ask “Does this make me look fat?” And I tell my husband Ryan all the time when I say the harsh truths “Sorry- my grandpa taught me to never lie no matter what.”
And so I would like to share his lessons with all of you so that maybe you can take to heart what this great man wanted me to learn.
- You have to always be honest, even if it means hurting the people you love
- A man (or woman) cannot live a good life if they aren’t living honestly
- Telling the truth is hard but you’ll never have regrets if you do
- You must always do the right thing
I hope to instill these lessons in those around me especially my step children and any children that may come along some day. I’m going to miss this man so much but he’ll live on through his love and lessons and I will never be able to drink a can of Coke without thinking of those warm summer days and those long talks.