Last night as Erin & I went to bed, she asked what we would be doing tomorrow. I told her that we would be doing tons of fun stuff but first we need to go to Great Grandpa Harry's apartment to take home the things we want to keep as memories.
Lately when I talk about my grandfather, she refers to him as "Great Harry." Erin decided that she wanted another explanation of who Great Harry was. I reminded her that Zaydie is my daddy. Then I explained that Great Harry was Zaydie's daddy so he's my Zaydie. Then she said "So Great Harry is Great Zaydie?" Wow! Leave it to my girl to think of it in those terms!
Since we've been talking a lot about my grandfather lately, he's been a topic of interest for Erin. I asked Erin what she wants to call him since Great Grandpa Harry is a mouthful. She's decided to keep referring to him as "Great Harry."
The fact is that my grandfather was not the grandfather that we all want to have. His life was hard, & he was a hard parent & grandfather to have.
When I told him that we were adopting a child from China, his only question - amazingly enough - was would she be Jewish. Had he not been so ill at the time, he never would have asked that question since I'm the most observant of his grandchildren - not that I'm so religious, but it matters to me. David & I really expected a battle from him.
When Erin came from China, he didn't get to see too much of her. I was concerned that he'd say something nasty, & I knew that I wouldn't hold back. The few times that he did see her, he would have to be reminded that she was his great granddaughter because he had a hard time recognizing people he didn't know well. Not once did my grandfather say anything wrong to her or even me which was a shock.
My grandfather died Christmas Eve 2004 with my dad by his side. The following morning I flew to NY for his funeral. It has been the only week in Erin's life that we've been seperated since her adoption.
Even though Erin didn't know Great Harry, he's still a presence in our life.