I had to tell my grandfather something I knew he didn’t want to hear yesterday: I’m not going to see him this Christmas. I’m still not sure whether it was the right decision.
I expected him to respond with hurt and confusion, and he sort of did, in his own way, but he also caught me off guard by telling me the same thing he’s told me many times before — that he loves me, and will always love me, no matter what. That was his way of responding. By emphasizing that, over and over.
He’s told me that for as long as I’ve known him, and when I was little, I just took it for granted that my grandparents love me. The sky is blue, peas are gross, and my grandparents love me. I actually didn’t understand why Granddad emphasized it so much — that he loves me and will always love me, no matter what. It seemed almost random sometimes, but I just accepted it as a thing he liked to say.
But ever since I realized what I am (i.e. not straight), it’s started to make me feel queasy when he says it.
Because, yes, he loves me. But this is my Catholic, Republican, Fox-News-watching grandfather we’re talking about here.
And so I’m left wondering, these days, when he says he loves me no matter what… Would you still? If you knew?
And. God. I don’t even know how to put a name to that emotion.
He says “no matter what,” but it’s not as easy to believe that anymore.