To The Man Who Loved Me, And The One Who Didn't

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 21:03 -- mleath

Dear Grandfather,


I don’t even know what to say to you.

You’ve made a writer speechless. Congratulations.


I don’t know how to start this letter,

because I don’t know what to call you.

I guess I could call you “Grandfather”

but that title isn’t yours anymore.

I guess it never really was.

I’d call you by your name, If I knew it.

I guess that’s part of why I feel so angry and

so hurt about this situation.

I didn’t know about you for a long time.

It took years for my Mom to tell me

that she didn’t have the same Dad

biological father as her siblings did.


And, I guess, to the man I call grandfather

and to the rest of my family,

it doesn’t matter that much.

Usually, it doesn’t matter to me that much.

But sometimes, it still gets to me.

Sometimes I find myself crying

about the fact that I don’t even know you,

and I don’t even think it’s because I’m sad.

I think that I get so upset because I’m angry,

because I’m frustrated. Frustrated with you.


I don’t know what to expect -

From what I hear, when you left my grandmother,

you left my Mom, too.

I hope you know that that was a mistake.

You left an amazing woman, and an amazing child.

You hurt them.


But you didn’t just miss the two of them.

You missed September 7, 1998,

when your daughter delivered a little boy.


You missed September 17, 1999,

with the rest of my mother’s family and my father’s,

when the doctors had to perform a c-section

and deliver two little girls that almost didn’t make it.

You never saw those little girls, struggling to live.

Maybe through this letter,

you'll see me,

just this one time.


I wonder if anyone gave you the news.

Someone had to, right?

Someone must’ve let you know

that your daughter was at the hospital,

scared, with two little babies

that couldn’t even fit diapers yet.


Two babies who had to take lots of medication

and had to have tubes and monitors all of the time.

I was the smaller one, which is a feat in itself,

because we were both tiny.

My dad likes to tell people about

when we were born and

he could fit both of us

in just one hand.

It took me a month of hard work to reach three pounds.

That was my first milestone that you missed.


No one even knew if we were going to make it

for the first week or so, did you know that?

Because all I know is that you never came.

And I try to live with that. I do.

I try to be okay with the fact that that you weren’t there,

and that you still aren’t, and that you never will be.

And sometimes, I almost am. But it still hurts.

It hurts that you’re not here,

and that you don’t care,

and that I’ll never know you.

That’s the hardest part.

Knowing that you could walk right past me on the street

like every other stranger in my life and I wouldn’t know.

That’s usually what gets to me the worst, the not-knowing.


But, now, let me tell you what I do know.

You left a lot of amazing women in the dust, for starters.

Me, my Mom, my Grandmother, and my sister.

But I also know that my grandmother found someone better,

someone who treated her right.

And he was there for my Mom,

and he treated her like one of his own,

just like how he’s always treated me and my siblings.

Because, to him, we are his.

And he loves us.

And he’s been there.

He’s still there.

He has been my babysitter,

my playmate,

my secret-keeper,

my cheerleader,

my friend,

and my rock.


He is the one who has been there to wipe my tears,

to hang up my drawings and the notes that I write to him on napkins,

to tell me it’s going to be okay when everything feels like it’s going wrong,

and to love me when I felt like no one could.


In short, he's done everything you couldn't.

He's been my Grandfather.

So when it hurts now,

I turn to him,

not the empty space that you left.


A Stranger



This poem is about: 
My family
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