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Dear 公公
November 12, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Open Letter to Grandpa
posted by Wonton Cruelty (17 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Same.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:12 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Very Bill Plympton.
posted by pipeski at 11:14 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


stunning
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 11:19 AM on November 12, 2013


Sweet.

I have a friend who was raised to speak nothing but English so that he would be successful in Canada and forget the life his parents had in pre-communist Shanghai. He loved his mother fiercely and dearly - even though they could not really communicate easily due to the language barrier. Don't worry - your parents and grandparents know that you love them, even when you are being a little shit.
posted by helmutdog at 11:41 AM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Made me think of Ken Liu's Paper Menagerie.
posted by Kabanos at 12:29 PM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really liked that.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:33 PM on November 12, 2013


The way his head changes into all those different things is such a poetically accurate representation of the way I experience embarrassment, shame, and regret.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:44 PM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna go call my Grandpa... wait, no. Decades too late.

Crap.
posted by davelog at 1:04 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My grandfather went from a force of nature to a shell filled with dementia and while I visited as often as I could from several states away it was never enough. Never enough.

I love you Grampa.
posted by djeo at 1:26 PM on November 12, 2013


This is really, really nice.
posted by brundlefly at 1:37 PM on November 12, 2013


Until I was about 20 years old, I had 7 grandfathers. Due to remarriages, and very young parents (and grandparents).

There are only 2 left (one a great-grandfather, he's 97). I think I'm going to write them both letters now.
posted by DigDoug at 2:24 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life to stay in physical proximity to my remaining set of grandparents, who are very elderly now. I see them about once a week. It means a lot to me. Sometimes I wonder if I will later regret having given up so much of my life to be around for the ends of theirs. And then I realize that even if I am someday sorry for it, I am who I am and I would have done it anyway. I can envy my brother, who visits but not nearly as often, for the freedom he's got, but I just couldn't be that person, and he can't be me, so I guess we're both okay.
posted by Sequence at 3:34 PM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't get to meet one of my grandfathers in the flesh until he was in a coma after the quadruple bypass from which he would never wake. I was eight. He had been a Japanese POW in WWII (building the Burma Railway) and had some PTSD-like issues -- he left my grandmother with three young boys in the early 50s and he and my dad had a massive falling out about 20 years before I was born. He and I had great conversations, from when I was very young, and still do - of course they are entirely in my head. He only lived a few suburbs away, but I never even saw him until he was intubated and on a respirator and probably didn't look much different from when he was liberated.

I'd love to be able to write and draw a comic like this, and feel guilty about not talking to him, but I can't because I don't. I've always talked to him whether he liked it or not, and he has been a great source of inspiration and wisdom and chastisement and sadness.

Thanks for the post, I love that other people have complicated relationships with their grandparents too.
posted by goo at 7:01 PM on November 12, 2013


I've felt disconnected from all of my grandparents, in part because they are (or were) all very conservative and religious, and in some cases abusive.

I've never understood people who see their grandparents as friends or someone to whom they can "talk about anything." I feel guilty for not forming better connections, and I feel I've missed out on something wonderful. I don't know how it could have been different, though. How do you forge a connection with someone who turns every conversation into an opportunity to urge you to return to the Lord, who isn't interested in anything you've done or what you actually believe and think?
posted by bunderful at 8:16 PM on November 12, 2013


I've decided that people are simply made differently.

My grandparents were my rock. Without their consistent, close support, I'd have come to a violent or addictive end early on, while my parents watched and laughed, to be honest. I became a mother at 19 and tried my damnedest to be a good mother - single most of the way, because we were divorced when my daughter was three. As an aside, my daughter is now my son - he's transitioning now and I'm incredibly happy to see his happiness. Back to point: As a parent, I simply stumbled and tried the best I could and I think I did all right, though there were plenty of times I wished I had a mother I could ask for advice (my grandparents passed away when I was in my teens/early 20s). But when I became a grandparent 25 years ago, I determined to be the absolute best grandmother I could possibly be to my granddaughter, and I think I was a better grandmother than mother.

We're all made differently, for sure, because I simply have no concept of life as a grandparent that doesn't include 100% devotion to rounding out the lives of my grandchildren with anything I can do or give. It's just outside my realm of understanding to imagine a grandparent who's critical and disparaging to a grandchild.

This "little comic" moved me at the deepest level. Thank you.
posted by aryma at 9:40 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel guilty for not forming better connections, and I feel I've missed out on something wonderful. I don't know how it could have been different, though. How do you forge a connection with someone who turns every conversation into an opportunity to urge you to return to the Lord, who isn't interested in anything you've done or what you actually believe and think?

Yup. I am not close to any of my relatives that live in the same state (or heck, the entire West Coast) as I do. I get along far better with the relatives I rarely see. I'd like to, but...I am just Not Their Kind, Dear, and there's nothing I can do about it. They're not interested in being close with me and they won't miss me if I'm not around--one side of the family cut me off but I'm good with it because those were the massive jerks, and the other side tolerates my mom and I a few times a year. But you can't be close to people who aren't interested or are too different from you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:06 PM on November 12, 2013


How do you forge a connection with someone who turns every conversation into an opportunity to urge you to return to the Lord, who isn't interested in anything you've done or what you actually believe and think?

See, I'm close to my grandparents, but this is exactly why I'm not close to my mother and stepfather. Been estranged from my dad for about a decade for other reasons. Very few people end up being able to have close, healthy relationships with everybody in their family. Cherish what connections you can make, whether it's to other family, to friends, to your partner or kids, and don't try to force things with somebody who isn't good to you just so you can wax saccharine about your grandma/grandpa/mom/dad/whatever when other people are doing it.
posted by Sequence at 11:39 AM on November 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


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