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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!

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wisestories wisestories 31-35 3 Responses Jul 9, 2010

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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.