MY GRANDFATHER’S SECRET

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It was a gloomy day. I was mourning for a very beloved departed, my Grandfather.

His wake was serviced at a local funeral home. Visitors kept coming, some familiar faces I thought I knew, but I could not remember when or how we met. Most of them were friends and relatives. Except for this one middle-aged looking man, crying in a corner. I looked at his direction, seeing his emotions more pained than mine, questions ran through my head. He slowly walked to where my grandfather laid. Covering his misty eyes with a hanky. But I can still see his emotions now more pronounced as he was nearing him. He was comforted by, my guess, his wife.  I can hear him whimpering. Soft sobs of longing.

Looking at him settled now, I can clearly see the resemblance. He was the spitting image of my grandfather.

He is your mom’s brother,” someone whispered to my ears. I turned to see the one who dropped the bomb, my mother’s cousin. My heart beat fast. I could not believe what I was hearing.

I looked at my mother as she sat, surrounded by whispering relatives with peering glances on that particular man. My mother, emotionless and impassive. Indecisive of what to entertain first, the pain of loss or the shocking disbelief of an “instant” brother.

My mother is an only daughter, or so she thought. All her life, having a sibling never occurred to her. She was never told she had until that one very fateful day. The man was my grandfather’s love child with another woman.

Flashbacks came pouring in. I can recall, my grandfather was the sternest looking man I’ve seen ever. He seldom says anything about everything, but he took care of us when my father was away at work. Having had an only daughter, he looks at us his grandchildren with so much love.

I was trying to recall instances in the past of any passing chance that my grandpa, in any way, told us about his secret. I don’t remember anything except that in his death bed, he confessed to the priest. A confession that has something to do with his weakness as a human being.

Everything sank in perfectly for me and for my mother. We felt betrayed. We felt pain. But we were overwhelmed by the thought of that man, watching him now how he survived life without a father. My grandfather never honored him as a son.

I was told that years back, when the man was still young, he would visit my grandpa at his workplace. He would just watch his father from a distance, afraid that he would hurt himself more if my grandpa dismisses him. I can now understand the man’s whimpers of longing for a father. Only during the wake had the man told grandpa how he loved and honored him as his father when grandpa can dismiss him no more. What can be more painful than the man’s pain.

Grandfather’s secret was well kept for 45 long years until his death bed.

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