Maternal Grandfather - Died of lung cancer and tuberculosis when my mom was 14 years old. He spent the last 10 years of his life in and out of the hospital. She says she doesn’t remember ever being able to hug him.
Paternal Grandfather - He was a music professor at a university, but when he wasn’t doing that he was a drunk SOB who beat up his kids. Even still, he was better parent than…
Paternal Grandmother - Who gave away two children even before she married my dad’s father. Two weeks after my dad was born, she ran off with her lover and left my dad and his three siblings with my paternal grandfather and great-grandmother. My dad says he saw her at Christmas and his birthday when she’d bring him a bag of fruit. She was shot and killed by her lover when my dad was 16.
Maternal Grandma - My only living grandparent. She only went to the second grade in school, but taught herself to read and write. She was basically a single parent and raised four children. The youngest of which was adopted while she worked as a nurse’s aide at the hospital. A young woman had given birth to him, but didn’t want or couldn’t afford him so my grandma said she’d take him. She’s not an affectionate woman and comes across as being a bit cold, but she’s not.
She dated and lived with a man for 20 years, but they never married. She said she was married once and that was enough for her. Manual, the boyfriend, was a kind man and my mother credits him for showing her what a father’s love is. He was kind, gentle, and loved my grandmother. When my grandma could no longer take care of him (he was much older), his family put him in a nursing home. My mom and grandmother visited him twice daily to feed, shower, change, and take care of him until his death. Once when I was visiting him, he told me that he’d prayed to God and that he was at peace and ready to die. And, that all he wanted to was to be with my grandma when it happened because that was when he was most happy.