To My Nieces & Nephews

An Open Letter To My Nieces & Nephews:

It’s been ten days since Dad (Grandpa to you) passed. Five since the funeral. You are each returning to your adult lives- partners, children, school, career, all those things that interfere with a good night’s sleep. I am still processing becoming an orphan and most likely undoubtedly will have more to say later.

Today however I write to ask you to talk with (not just to) your parents. Not as parents but as, well, real people. They are, you know. Pretty cool ones at that. With interesting stories. Ones they probably felt they couldn’t or shouldn’t share before you became adults. Ask them about their first crush. Their first kiss. Skipping class for the first time. Their regrets, and joys (beyond having you, that is). Talk politics. Talk religion. Sex- well that’s up to each of you, there.

I regret not really knowing Morna or Jamie. I never knew Doris or Marguerite other than as grandparents. A worthy title- valuable positions of honour (at least in some cultures). But they were so much more. See what JB wrote about Dad’s Mom. How much I missed by seeing her only as Grandma.

And don’t be afraid to ask your Uncles and Aunts for our stories- about the family as well as our own lives. If you are curious about your ancestors further back/up the genealogical chart, talk to JB. Make sure he has all your kids’ complete names and birth-dates. He’ll add them to the chart if he hasn’t already. He might even be able to connect with (or help you do your own research on) other families if he has your partners’ information. This advice includes talking with those families as well. Perhaps not as, uh, fascinating as ours, but still a part of your lives.

I don’t want you to miss out. I know there are some fascinating stories, and I know the deep regret of not knowing.

Uncle Gryph

Update: 2 hours later
Just in case I was too subtle, the new season of The Goldbergs just launched with a similar theme for the first episode. It’s on ABC and Hulu (at least here in The States).

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