On Monday I went to my great uncle Bill’s funeral. I really only saw Bill at family reunions, and we might have chatted over lukewarm pasta salad, but I was primarily going to support my family. Not that I was unsympathetic at all, but I definitely lacked some empathy because I’ve never experienced a personal loss to death like some of my cousins at the funeral who had just lost their grandpa.

Interruption: Why do we say ‘lost’ anyway? People aren’t chapstick. Just a thought.

At the cemetery where he was buried, we looked around at other stones and found the one belonging to my great-grandparents and also my Grandpa Adrian, who died long before I was even born. But it was like seeing that stone stirred something up in me…like I suddenly recognized for the first time that Grandpa Ade was a real person. We watched a slideshow of Bill’s life (Ade’s brother) and a saw this stud of man in a navy uniform who looked like my dad and uncle. He had wavy hair and ears that stuck out a little. “Oh look, there’s Adrian!” people said. I heard all these stories about him and his fiery personality (so that’s where I get it from…) and how he was full of humor and the center of attention.

I was hit with sadness because I realized I was mourning for the grandpa I never met. And I finally had a very slight understanding of what it’s like to miss someone in that way. I wonder if we would like the same things…like peaches and chocolate and rocking chairs and sass. One of these days I’ll find out. Until then, I’ll just assume we would have been best friends.


  1. Mal,
    I wish so much you could have known each other. He would have been crazy about you- he truly was an awesome man and a great example. You have alot of him in you.

    Love Dad

  2. I just took the time to read this blog about your grandpa Adrian. I know you heard all those famous and infamous stories about him, so I won’t repeat them, but just let me say he would have been so proud of you and all you’ve accomplished–and the wonderful, sensitive, bright young woman you’ve become. He would have been bragging about you to anyone who would have listened. He even bragged about his brother going to college and becoming a teacher–and then he chided him on driving an old car to spoil the image! We had great times together and we still miss him. He was larger than life and brightened up any room he came into. And then there was his infamous temper . . . . Love, Aunt Diane

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s