Grandpa Herb has died. He is being buried today. With him, all the love, peace, and family will be there as he returns to the soul of the universe for his next journey.

My daughter’s grandfather and I locked horns early in life. He disapproved of me because I wasn’t Jewish and felt his attorney son could do so much better than some poor, part black kid, from a broken family in the Bronx.The icing on the cake was I always wore a cross (still do), went to church on Sundays, and spent twelve years in Catholic school.

I was so insecure about myself, I agreed to have two weddings, one on Friday night for my side, cleaned my gown on Saturday, and had a wedding for Randy’s side on Sunday. His parents made up some story about my parents being Spanish Jews to save face for friends and family.

Obviously, I should have known then his son didn’t love me enough to accept me for who I was and I certainly had no love or respect for myself either. I reconverted to the Catholic church eight months after we were married and later on God gave us the gift of our daughter, Rachel.

Needless to say divorce was inevitable and Rachel and I lived a wonderful life together of love and fun. Financially it was hard but I was grateful for this incredible child.

As the years passed, Rachel’s grandparents remained kind to her. Years later, Grandpa Herb, after our horrible parting of the ways during the divorce: restraining orders, break-ins, taking Rachel and threatening not to give her back neither to his son nor myself, etc, etc., walked up to me at an event and said, ” You did a great job with her.”

In that one sentence he displayed all that mattered to him was Rachel. That still could have been true without him giving me credit for doing a wonderful job raising her. He could have just said hello or said nothing. Instead, he chose to be a man with integrity and speak to me with kindness.

It’s funny; although I know a long time ago he didn’t want me around and maybe he still felt that way, all I remember now, is he loved my daughter, got a kick out of listening to her imitate Forrest Gump’s, “Life is like a box of chocolates”, he built an amazing built-in fish tank, and paid me the best compliment a mother can ever receive.

What will people say about you when you die? If those who you have harmed or who you have had misunderstandings with, can say, ” I loved him/her in spite of our differences”, you have lived a life of grace. I’m glad I had a chance to say, “Thank you” for Herb’s compliment. It meant the world to me.┬áBut most of all, if not for him, there could never be a Rachel.

Rest in peace Grandpa Herb.