How My Grandfather’s Death Helped Me Look Past Politics

by Lucy Barnum
Also Featured on KCBS

How My Grandfather’s Death Helped Me Look Past Politics

by Lucy Barnum
Also Featured on KCBS
02.17.19
Photo courtesy the Barnum family
02.17.19

My grandfather died this past summer. While I honor our relationship, my memory of him is complicated by our political differences.

My grandfather lived across the country, so I only saw him twice a year. It never seemed like enough.

I remember sitting on his lap. I’d hold his old globe as he spun it until the countries blurred together. He mesmerized me with stories of his travels.

As I grew up, I became increasingly aware that my grandfather’s political opinions contradicted mine. In recent years, we couldn’t even watch the news together.

We never fought out loud. But our differences fractured our relationship.

This summer, my grandfather passed away. I was overwhelmed with heartache. He was gone, and our relationship could never be pieced back together.

For years, I looked at my grandfather and saw only our differences. Now that he’s gone, I’m trying to look past our rift to see our larger relationship, and the real person he was.

Now, when I think of him, I remember how he taught me to be curious, generous and kind. In the face of death, I learned not to forget his faults, but to see past them.

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