Tomorrow will be 3 years since I first hit that publish button on an entry about the Thorward Meat Market. So much has happened in my life since then. It makes me both excited and scared about what’s to come in my life.
Three years ago, I wrote about the meat market, and a town that I felt a strong connection to. The crazy thing is I had only been there once, briefly. Since that first entry three years ago, I cared for my Grandpa Moore for a year before he passed away. I’ve learned to quilt. I’ve learned so much history of the world. I can’t even count the people I’ve met and learned from. I find myself incredibly grateful for how far I’ve come.
When I was growing up, it was basically us here in Southern Maryland. My Mom’s family was in Ohio and my Dad’s in New York and New Jersey. We couldn’t afford to travel often and with three small children, my mother didn’t particularly enjoy it. I don’t blame her! So to spend that year with a Grandfather I never knew was so important and exciting for me. I went into it with a certain expectation. That was my only mistake where he was concerned. As a genealogist, and lonely granddaughter, I had all these hopes and dreams of hearing family stories all day, every day. I thought we would have a regular grandchild/grandparent relationship. A daily one. Something I’d never had before!
That’s not at all what I got, what I got was better. Instead of what I was hoping for, I got a real person, with real feelings and flaws. I learned with Grandpa that people are who they are and that’s okay. You shouldn’t try to change people. You can help them, try to guide them if they need it, but it’s not up to you to change people. That’s not okay.
My Grandfather didn’t call me by my name in the whole year I cared for him. I brought him 2 meals a day, we watched TV together and we ate dinner at the kitchen table together every night. We were with each other almost every waking minute of the day and never once did he really acknowledge the fact that we were family. That’s not his fault. By the time he got here, he was very sick, he had been separated from the family for over 25 years, and quite frankly he wasn’t all there anymore. I suspect the aneurysms were already reeking havoc on his memories and motor functions.
It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it was the most rewarding. I cried sometimes. I’ll even admit to being down right hateful in my thoughts on the bad days when he would say non-polite things. I’m only human. I never let him know it though, because it wasn’t his fault that I was disappointed. It was my fault. By the time I was on my way into D.C. to the hospital to say goodbye, I had already felt so close to him. Closer then I probably ever even thought I was going to in the beginning. Not because we have all these funny memories together. Not because we did anything super special.
For the first time in my life, I stopped caring about myself or my wants and needs that year. I devoted everyday from the time I got up in the morning until I went to bed at night to someone else’s health and well being. It felt good. It felt rewarding. I might not have gotten family stories from him, but I was able to tell him more about his family. I was able to show him pictures and remind him of people who he didn’t recall.
I was even able to get him excited about genealogy and DNA testing through this website and Who Do You Think You Are? Imagine my surprise one day when he handed my father my website printed out. “Here, give this to the one who does genealogy. It’s got a lot of information on the Thorwards.”
That’s my favorite memory. I guess you can definitely say that this website took a backseat the last few years. It’s been almost a year since we lost Grandpa and I still miss him. I miss his company. I miss hearing The Price Is Right echo through the house because he had it on in two rooms. I miss a lot of things. Things that make me realize that I probably had a pretty normal grandparent/grandchild relationship after all. It’s still hard for me to find a definitive routine in my life since I didn’t have time to think about those things for a year.
I didn’t intend for this to be an entry all about my Grandpa Moore but I’m glad it did. I like thinking about the things he taught me about who I am as a person and where I came from. He didn’t know that’s what he was doing, but he was teaching me everyday. I hope that someday I am able to answer all the questions that our family has about our roots, but even if I don’t, I’ll know I tried my best. I know that someday, I’ll be able to tell a younger generation of our family that yes, this man shaped our family, and he had flaws, but that didn’t make him a bad person. It made him human. He was a Police Chief, and he was good at what he did. He was able to think about things without emotion clouding his judgment and he never held a grudge. Things I hope to someday be able to do myself. He liked gadgets, he liked technology and boy did he like to spend money. Now we know where we get that flaw from Moores!