I am heartbroken. My granddaughter is getting married after living with this wonderful young man for five years. My granddaughter and her fiancé are both 32. I am 91.
The past three years they have lived and worked in my city. Every Sunday they would have breakfast with me. I would prepare an agenda for what I wanted to talk about. They would tell me stories about work. We would talk about politics, the news, family life, his family, her mom and dad, her sister…all of whom are my family also. After all, her mom is my daughter.
Having my granddaughter close also meant more visits from my daughter, too. She and her husband live on one coast and come visit their daughter. And me too, of course.
Boy are they ever happy.
Yep. I am happy for them. He has a new good job and so does my granddaughter.
Yep. The will both make good money and have all the right benefits.
Yep. They will be married. An old-fashioned grandpa, I lamented their simply living together. I got my wish that they marry. Did my asking “when?” make a difference? And now with that comes moving away.
Yep. I can visit my granddaughter and her guy. A 3-hour flight and the airport stuff for a 91-year-old guy. Well, maybe not.
So I can be a great long-distance grandpa.
Yep I am truly happy for them. But the feeling of loneliness and aloneness is hard to keep at bay. That feeling lingers on. How do us older folks cope with that? My friends say, “get a life.” I think “take joy in your connectedness with your granddaughter forever and never ever lose contact.” That’s a great life.
How to stay connected across the miles.
There are many things that I can do to understand their new world. By that I mean read about the companies they are working for. Ask them the movies they see and see them too. My granddaughter is an avid reader. I can ask her to send me the title and author of the books she is reading and read them too. Her soon-to-be husband is a sports fan. I can find out about the teams he is watching and watch a game or two. With the Internet I can read the newspapers for the City where they live.
And I will share with them what is going on in my life: how I use my creativity, what I am passionate about and what I am committed to. I will be a conduit, sharing what I hear from across our family, from cousins, aunts, uncles and their children.
How I Will Love our Weekly Phone Calls.
And, before they leave, we will set up a weekly phone call schedule, including the time and day and honor it. Perhaps it can even be the same time that we have been meeting in person, for breakfast, for the past three years.
Live my own life to the fullest–but stay connected.
And I can continue my walks in the Chicago Botanic Garden, my work on the Grandparent-Connection School Program; writing a new book, weekly Friday morning coffee with the guys, my regular exercise and more.
That’s our healthy interdependence. We will both continue to grow in our lives, for so much to share and enjoy in our weekly calls.