Alexandra Fretts

They Taught Me How

I’m so lucky to know you,
I think as I look into his eyes.
Though we are separated by
Many branches in our family tree,
My great uncle and I have a
Deeper understanding.
He is more like my grandfather
Than anyone else is,
And I like to believe he has
Always thought of me as a
Granddaughter.
 
I hear stories of his strong
Hand in business, as well as
In fatherhood,
But I find it hard to believe that
This man with a twinkle in his eyes
A hearty laugh has ever
Felt an ounce of anger
Or disappointment.
However, it’s mostly his
Stories of charity and assistance
That I revel in.
 
I also find myself in
Fascination when it comes to my
Great aunt. I can almost feel
The itching of jealousy
When I hear my distant cousins call
Her "Grandma," but I know
It makes no difference;
I love her just the same as they do.
She’s there for every single person
In my family, offering advice-
Even when she goes unasked-
But always looking out for
The well being of those she loves.
 
I was almost surprised the first time told me,
"I love you."
I’d scarcely heard that from my real grandmother
Until one or two years ago.
But I was mostly surprised by my willingness
To say it back, and the complete honesty
With which I said it.
 
As I sat in the car with my mother one day,
Driving away from their multiple-acre property,
(Complete with a garden of basil, peppers, and tomatoes
That they give to their adoring niece every season),
I told her happily of my admiration
For the two whom I hold in such high regard.
She agreed with me, but said solemnly,
"We don’t have much longer with them."
I grew quiet, aware that my mother didn’t say it
To hurt me, only to stress that time flies,
And that those we love deserve to know we do.
 
I cried that night for two of my
Favorite people in the world.
I didn’t cry out of pity, but out of the
Awareness of the amazing lives they have led.
 
I silently hope I can grow up to be the woman
That they have no doubt I will become:
One of integrity, intelligence, self-respect,
And the ability to love.
I am positive that it is because of them
That I am compelled
To keep my morals intact,
To work hard and learn all that I can,
To always respect myself,
And most importantly,
To love and be loved by others.
They really taught me how.





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