An Old Note

 My grandparents passed away about 10 years ago when I was still a teenager. My grandfather was very close to me and he was not only a dear grandfather figure to me but also a life mentor who gave me advices about life, love and whatever other things I needed advice on. His advices helped me a lot and caused always a sense of relief in my life especially in harder times or when facing difficult choices and decisions.
When he was gone, I had a hard time in life; I felt emptiness and lack of guidance. It is not that my parents were not there for me or I did not have friends to talk to, but no one knew me as well as Grandpa. He knew me so deep that he could tell from my body reactions how I was and from the way I was breathing he could tell how I felt.
For almost a year after his death I was living aimlessly not knowing my own direction. I just existed and was trying to find guidance in my life. It was a very difficult period. I went to the cemetery almost every weekend and just stood and stared there at his headstone. Slowly as pain vanished and I matured as a person I gradually became independent with my own decisions. I did not ask for advice from anyone and I decided on things and chose among alternatives in life as my Grandpa would have suggested or picked.
Then about at age 25, after I graduated from college, I was offered an overseas opportunity to work as a business development manager for the company I worked for. The only problem was I was dating a guy for a year and a half and I thought it was getting very serious. In my mind I was picturing myself as his wife and as the mother of his kids so I thought this opportunity might have just come at the wrong time.
They were supposed to send me off to Spain in two months time and basically I was given a month to think about my decision. My boss told me it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there were others at the company waiting on the list if I happened to decline it. This month was a stressful time every day I woke up and every night I went to bed with the thoughts of what happens if I go or if I don’t. My major concern obviously was my then boyfriend and the possibility of losing him. I truly loved him and I really wanted to settle with him.
During this one month period I went to visit my parents in Oklahoma where they still lived in the same house. Before one of the dinners my dad sent me down to the basement to pick a bottle of wine for the dinner. The very back section of the basement had a lot of boxes and before I went to the wine cellar section I went to the back to see what were in those boxes.
I do not know why but randomly I reached for one of the boxes and I pulled it towards the light. It was heavy so I was sure there were books in it. I opened it and then I saw some books that belonged to Grandpa. He loved to read and especially after my grandmother passed away, he escaped to reading from his pain. I picked up one of the books and as I opened the cover a small old note fell from it. I picked it up and immediately I recognized Grandpa’s handwriting. The note was a short quote from Saint Augustine and it said “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
I put the note in my jeans’ back pocket and I picked a bottle of wine. As I walked up the stairs I felt relieved and this relief felt exactly the same as the relief I felt when I was a teenager and Grandpa gave me an advice on something. I had a pleasant dinner with my parents and I told them I was going to Spain. This sentence came out me naturally and without any hesitation. After dinner I went up to my room and I called my boyfriend to tell him about my decision.
Two months later I was already in Spain and we agreed with my boyfriend to try a long distance relationship and when he finished his graduate school in a year he would join me. Emotionally it was tough and I was crying a lot. There were times when I even questioned my decision that I made based on a note, based on a quote that Grandpa might have liked for whatever reason. But in a about a month, I became sure it was the right choice.
My best friend called me up and told me that a couple of times she saw my boyfriend hand in hand with a girl in a bar and they seemed very intimate together. I was furious. I called him up and we had a huge fight. We called each other different names and basically we broke up. I was depressed and I was not sure if to stay in Spain in this difficult emotional situation or go back to the States. After some alone time and reading Grandpa’s note a few more times I stayed and it seems that his ‘advice’ paid off. I met a guy from Australia whom I got married to after a year of dating. We are still happily married, now living our lives back in the States and we are happily raising our two beautiful daughters.
Thanks a lot Grandpa!
wisestories wisestories
3 Responses Jul 9, 2010

This just reminds me of my longing to travel.. but fear of the unknown. Thank you for sharing your Grandfather's message.

Great post.... Thanks for sharing....

Great story.