His name was Andy. He was the best man I have ever met. A silent type, that only spoke when he had something important to say. You felt love around this man. You felt care.
Andy's wife, my grandmother, was the iconic Mary-O housewife that came with that 1950's era. Her personality was vibrant, loud, and outspoken. Neighbors like Sue and Peggy constantly dialed her phone with gossip and they would gather at the church every Sunday to attend mass and count money from the collection. Andy and Mary-O were an odd couple, like opposites attracting. But I could sense the love.
They bought a house in Stamford Connecticut, where they would raise three sons and one daughter. My grandfather was in the Navy for the birth of his first, and I believe periodicly for the early years of his second son.
Marry-O often seemed hard on my grandfather. I remember telling my mother this, and my mother told me that grandpa wasn't always the man he was today. After he came back from the Navy he made some bad choices. He drank too much. I was told my father that he one time got abusive towards my grandmother while in this state. That my father as child has gotten between them to break up a fight and got struck in the process. Soon after my grandfather got drunk one night and fell asleep in his car. A police officer found him. It was the sobering incident he needed. He gave up alchol that day.
As a child I remember him looking sad. I wonder now as I've wondered always if he thought thoes moments defined him, because they didn't. He evolved so much. Sometimes you lose yourself, sometimes you do things you regret, but you become something better in the process.
The Thanksgiving before my grandfather passed he was frustrated because he knew, and no one would listen to his dying wish to have permission from the pope to have his ashes spread across the sea. Everyone kind of laughed it off probably not wanting to have that convo. I was sitting next to him drawing and he asked to see my art book. I reluctantly handed it over. He flipped through every page with such care. He even looked emotional at one point and looked at me.
"You are going to be something one day, you know that?" He said.
"Maybe." I said very quietly.
"No," he said. "God gifted you that talent. Trust me you will be the first Soltes to really be something big."
I honestly don't care If my grandfather was right or wrong. Those words were the kindest word I had heard from anyone for a long time and they got me through the darkest of times. God may have gifted me talent just so my grandfather could then gift me hope.
People often question my choices to forgive and forget, if someone is genuine and wants to grow past a circumstance than I dont think ther is anything more beautiful and rewarding to whitness and be a part of that journey.
So to anybody thinking they have lost themselves. I can't wait to see who you will become when you build yourself up again.