My grandfather, I called him granddaddy, was a phenomenal man. He was a medic in the war. I asked Nana, his wife, my grandmother, when I was a little girl, why granddaddy was always so calm. She said he was worried what would happen if he ever got angry so he didn’t let himself get angry. He was never angry. She told me stories of their life together and gave me examples of how he remained calm in every situation. We spent a lot of time at their house. I spent a lot of time in a little Johnboat fishing with my granddaddy. When I caught my first fish you would have thought I won a million bucks. He celebrated like it was one of the greatest things he had ever witnessed. He made me feel special. He made me feel loved. He let me know he was proud of me.
Granddaddy passed away when I was only 7. I was so young but I remember so much about him. I remember his hands. I remember how he smelled. I remember how he hugged me. I remember knowing he was a good man even as a tiny young girl. I just knew. Nana and my mother furthered my belief that he was a good man with continued stories as I grew up of his ability to love, and above all, never show anger.
I have these pictures outside of my bedroom on the wall. When I walk past them I look at him and remember. As a 44 year old I wonder how he always kept calm. I wonder what he was afraid would happen if he did allow himself to get angry. How did he keep himself from getting angry. Did he have PTSD from the war and how did he manage that. As a 7 year old I wouldn’t have known those answers. As I grew up it is something that I never heard other family members pondering over. But I am a thinker. I want to know more. I wish I knew more about him and how he learned to manage anger.
I was numb most of my life. Then I became angry. Rageful, angry. I had no idea how to become not angry after I allowed myself to become angry. I wish I had had his guidance on how to achieve calm. One day, I woke up, and I just wasn’t angry anymore. It had passed. I believe finding my voice allowed it to pass. Choosing not to remain numb, and learning how to speak and set boundaries helped me to find balance. In that balance brought calm. I hope my granddaddy had balance. I hope in his calm there was not numb. I hope in his calm he was also happy. I wish I knew.