January 2nd, 2023

There have been recent rumblings about the possibility of our grandson, Asher, being taken from our home. This is exceedingly unlikely to happen, seeing as my wife and I are his legal guardians, and there is nobody else remotely capable of caring for him at this time. However, it is still a scary thought, one that for me conjures up half-forgotten memories.

My paternal grandfather passed away when I was thirteen. Up until that time, my parents had good, or at least civil, relationships with both sides of the family. That all ended after my grandfather died. Somehow, the family dynamics shifted abruptly, and long simmering resentments boiled up to the surface. There were bitter fights between my father and damn near everyone else. I don’t know what caused the feuding, and I never will. Almost all of the participants are dead now.

The end result of this fighting was the nearly completely isolation of our nuclear family from everyone else. My parents severed ties with all the relatives, except one of my father’s uncles. Suddenly, my brothers and I no longer had access to our grandparents or anybody else in our extended family. This situation went on for years. I come from a tribe that likes to hold a grudge.

Why did my dad turn his back on all of his kin? I don’t know. That’s just the kind of man he was. In the Bible, Ishmael, the son of Abraham is prophesized thus: “And he shall be a wild ass of a man: his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.”

That was my dad.

As I said, this separation from our relations lasted for years. Eventually, there was kind of a half-ass reconciliation, but the damage was done. Whatever relationship I had with my remaining grandparents was gone. My maternal grandfather was crippled from Parkinson’s disease. My maternal grandmother cared for him, but she was slowly losing her memory. My paternal grandmother’s mind was sharp as a freshly honed razor, but she was blind and going deaf, and often bedridden. They never saw me, or my brothers grow up. They missed out on most of our childhoods.

I remember my paternal grandmother telling how she would talk on the phone with my other grandma during the time when they had no contact with us. The two grandmothers would ask each other for tidbits of information on how their grandchildren were doing. They usually had nothing to share.

I never really understood how they felt until now. Our grandson, Asher, is two years old. He has been in our care almost all of his life. My wife and I have been watching over the boy 24/7/365. Our connection with Asher is deep, probably deeper than that of most grandparents. I cannot imagine life without Asher in our home. I have sometimes wondered how it would feel, and I have always recoiled from that. It is like staring into a void.

I know that eventually we will be separated from Asher. He will go to school and make friends. He may move away someday. Karin and I will die sooner or later. It is a certainty that we will not always have the close relationship with Asher that we enjoy today.

So, we need to be totally with him today.

One thought on “Separation”

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