It turns out he was a great man...

All my life my grandfather was someone I dreaded visiting. He was rude and condisending. He actually asked me if I wanted to be the fattest sixteen (I was actually seventeen at the time) year old in the world when I ordered a baked potato at a restaurant.

Today I was cruising around some ancestry websites and I found out that he was actually a very well loved person. I remember at his memorial service, everyone was telling all these great stories about him, and my cousin stood up and told a story about how he hit her sisters feet once for stepping on the tent threshold to many times. That was the Grandpa that I remembered.

I never really mourned his death, because I didn't really feel that he deserved missing. Today, I am sobbing all over my keyboard and thinking about the times he made me shell pistachios until my fingers bled.

I miss you Grandpa.

I think what you’ve found is that he was human. He had good bits and bad bits and unfortunately when you knew him you were overly exposed to the bad bits. It is nice that you’ve realised there was more to him than the man you knew.

I had a maternal grandmother not unlike that, although I don’t remember her ever being physical. Even when she was nice, she was evil. When I was a kid she would take me aside and give me a treat, a cookie, an apple, a banana, and tell me not to tell the other kids, as she didn’t have enough for everyone, but she thought I was special. I later learned thet she had done the same w/ my cousins.
She hated my father and made it known at every opportunity. She lived to be 89 and I last visited her a year or two before her death. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of decades, but she hadn’t changed. I wasn’t there more than an hour before she got around to criticizing my father. That brought back all the memories of her evilness. I didn’t challenge her, I just told her I had to be on my way. She protested, saying that I had just gotten there, I should stay awhile longer. At the door she asked again why I had to leave so quickly, I just told her to think about it, she would figure out why.
A couple of months after her death I got a check from the estate settlement. I endorsed it over to a childrens charity. Maybe she could be kinder in death than she was in life.
I don’t miss her. She was a bitch and death didn’t change that.

There’s a lot of people who are kind and nice to strangers but assholes to their families. Too bad, because they missout a lot in life.

Ok, so he was a better person than you knew, but he could have been a better person TO you. I’d call it a wash–and IIWY, would never eat another pistachio nut in my life…

(bolding mine)

I can’t claim to have your knowledge of the woman, so don’t disagree with your assessment, but the bolded part actually seems quite sweet of her. YM, as ever, MV.

It seems sick and manipulative to me.

A little dodgy perhaps, but in terms of “white lie bullshit to make kids feel happy”, is it any worse than the Santa Claus myth?

My great-grandmother died a couple of years ago, and she had favorites among her children. If you were the child or grandchild of one of her favorites then you could do no wrong. Otherwise, you were nothing to her. When she died, she left everything to her favorite daughter–the one who visited her once a year. The other five kids, including the three daughters who took care of her for more than three years got nothing.

She leads each child aside separately to give them their little secret treat and tell them they’re the favorite instead of just giving them all a damn treat? I don’t see that as a “little white lie.” I see it as a bizarre attempt to manipulate the grandchildren to get them to love her best.

I see it as sweetness. Each of the kids feels special and it hurts no one. It’s wonderful to feel like the favorite if only for a little while. I would think an adult would understand why a grandmother would do this for her grandchildren and not be bitter that he wasn’t actually the favorite.

There are an amazingly large number of people in this world, perhaps even all of us, who can be described as monstrous by some, and beloved by others.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve had people act in hideously cruel, dishonest and immoral ways toward me, only to turn around and meet someone who thinks the world of them and refuses to believe that they could have done what they did to me - often to the point of believing me a slanderous liar over it.

My psycho ex-wife being one of those. Her friends refused to believe anything bad about her.

I don’t think it was even about love, the only thing I ever saw the woman seem to love was her cats and she wasn’t some catlady, just occasionally owned one or two. She critisized everyone in the family. She just manipulated on a whim, it really had no point that I could ever fathom. After her death I visit my uncle, her only living child, and he was reminiscing about his relationship w/ her. He loved the woman, but he expressed frustration at never having received any praise from her, even though, for his entire life, he had always catered to her whims and gone out of his way to help her anytime she needed it, often at great expense to himself. He still didn’t like my critisizing her though, and said so. He had long ago accepted that she was just that way.

Mostly off-topic, but not entirely off-topic:

The church I attend fired their organist a year or so ago. A month or so afterwards, he was found dead in his house. I suspect suicide, but will never know for certain.

Since then, but especially in the last 2 months or so, I’ve heard about what a wonderfully talented musician he was. And I’ve wished that I could go back in time and listen to him play, because I never noticed that he was anything special, and I wonder whether that’s because I’m so used to hearing gifted pianists/organists, or because he wasn’t anything that special, but his skills have been inflated by sorrow over his loss or by people who didn’t have such a broad range of experiences hearing gifted pianists.

Sorry, Shera, but he doesn’t sound like a great man to me, though I will of course defer to your assessment and the fact that you miss him. But a famous saying from the great Dave Barry seems apt: “A person who is nice to you and mean to the waiter is not a nice person.” Replace “waiter” with “family,” of course.

My grandmother (dad’s mom) had a stroke in 1962. They revived her but she went from being a fat jolly woman, the life of the party with an amazing sense of humor, to a wizened old chain-smoker who cursed people and threw things and had temper tantrums when she didn’t get her own way. The latter was the only woman my mom ever knew (she met my dad afterward), and of course the only woman my siblings and I ever knew. She scared the hell out of us.

We all know, of course, that the horrible changes to her personality were the result of a brain injury. But the person she was to us – the person she became after her brain injury – was not a nice person. She just wasn’t. And when she died, my dad and his sisters mourned her for the woman she had been, but my siblings and I did not mourn her, because we had never known that person. I wish I had known that person, but I didn’t.

Exactly. I have a very close friend who was married to a local doctor. In the course of my friendship with this woman (well, we’re still friends; but she divorced the asshole and moved out of the area), I saw him as both a “family man” and a doctor. He was (and I guess still is) a very good doctor. Once, when no other doctor would help me get the Flonase 'script I needed, I sought him out, and he helped me out. He even gave me several samples of it, because it was expensive. He came close to saving my life once when I had a very serious kidney infection. But at home, he was derisive, temperamental, disrespectful and (she found out years later), unfaithful.

Back when they were still married, my hubby and I used to joke that he took off his personality with his lab coat.

He did do nice things for us though. At the time the mean ones just outshine them because we were kids. He built us a beautiful dollhouse that my sisters and I still fight over the custody of and he took us camping alomst every summer. He would try to teach us to be calm enough to bird watch or whittle. I retrospect I am almost certain that he had somekind of personality disorder that kept him form having much tact.

Then I guess I just misunderstood your OP. I have several friends whose husbands are highly regarded by co-workers, employees, bosses, etc. but are total shits at home; to me, your family should get the best of you.

I am glad, given this post especially, that you were able to see him in a more accurate light. I sincerely hope that this view of him helps to bring you peace.

From his conscie background it seems he was a person who loved mankind, it was just people he didn’t like.

This describes my father to a T.

Lab coat on, he’s a caring individual with all of his patients’ best interests at heart. Take the lab coat off and he’s a narcisstic alcoholic with a history of infidelity and a neglectful father at best, and occasionally hurtful father at worst. He’s literally incapable of understanding the impact of his actions upon other human beings, unless he’s in a formal framework like the doctor-patient relationship.

I’m sure that if I choose to attend his funeral, I’ll hear dozens of stories about what a wonderful man he was, and how he touched the lives of all his patients. Won’t change my opinion one bit about his qualifications as a father, though.