I did not know my Grandfather all that well only rarely seeing him at our families annual christmas gathering

I did not know my Grandfather all that well only rarely seeing him at our families annual christmas gathering. He would always stay in the kitchen at the table not talking much and only to my parents if that. So I couldn’t explain the feeling as I sat in the funeral home bathing in the somber atmosphere that was developing around me. I thought to myself I didn’t even know this man very well yet I still felt as if a close friend had passed.
This was my first experience with the death of a loved one and one that would define me. The mutual feeling in the funeral home was a tinge of sadness that I myself could for a reason unbeknownst to me also relate to. The funeral started with meet and greets with family members that I didn’t even know existed. They would all tell me “Man have you grown!” and “You were a baby last time I saw you!” I would gingerly agree with a polite smile and a handshake. Meeting all my unknown relatives was a great experience and some I still talk with to this day.
We moved into great memories everyone had of him in their lives, and so many were filled with stories that I myself had never heard. The main story that has stuck with me to this day would be the one told by my aunt. She shared with all of us in the funeral home of the time he helped her raise my two cousins. They were twins and at the time my aunt was going through hardships and had to work two jobs six days a week to keep her and them afloat. My grandfather had lived an hour away but would be there to get them up and ready for the day. He would cook “Delicious Meals” according to my cousins who were in attendance, when I asked them about his cooking later that day. He would stay all day and entertain them by taking them to the park and having other fun little activities planned throughout the day for them. She ended her heartfelt story with a moment of silence as a tear rolled down her cheek and looking around others had followed her lead and began to silently let tears flow.
After the end of her story I sat there quietly thinking about how and why I had never know this side of my grandfather. As I kept thinking I wondered if there were more stories to this side of my grandfather I had never known. Then and there I made a mental note to ask my parents and other members of my family if there were any more heartfelt stories that I had not known of. More stories were told after my aunt but once again hers still sticks with me to this very day. After her dramatic speech it had changed my mood for the rest of the funeral.
Soon after the eulogies we took a quick break for a brief lunch break that was provided by the funeral home. I took that time to reflect on the man I thought I knew versus the stories that were shared with me and the rest of the funeral home on that day. As I began to pick at my fruit salad slowly I noticed my cousins sitting across the room. I went up to and approached them and asked if they had any recollection of the days when our grandfather would watch over them. They said he was he a great and important figure early on in their lives. They especially mentioned how great of a cook he was with his signature pasta dishes that they always loved.
After the somber but informative lunch break we took our time to say thank yous and acknowledgments. Once again my aunt who had somewhat led the memorial stories part of the funeral started to thank all for coming. She thanked my grandfather’s immediate family for being there and being strong in these trying times. She then moved on to thank family friends for their support and love for our family during these hard times. But during her epilogue I was thinking of all that I missed by not getting to get to know my grandfather on a more personal level.
Concluding the funeral we had our final goodbyes to the man I called my grandfather. It started with close family as we walked towards his closed casket I couldn’t help but feel a sense of guilt for not getting to know him better. As I approached I said goodbye to a man I felt I had just started to get to know for the first time. As I left the funeral home on that dark but inspiring day I had made a promise to myself that while I still had one grandfather left I would make the most of getting to know him.