“Sorry to hear about your Grandpa”, I said.
The kid has to be around 25 now. His dad was a drug addict and his mom didn’t want him so his grandfather adopted him. He lived with his grandparents the entire time we were neighbors. Upscale equestrian community. You know, the one where all the mortgage brokers, real estate agents and local business owners lived before the big crash in ’07 that sent us all scurrying like cockroaches when the financial lights were turned on.
The kid would work on construction jobs for my husband on the weekends. One time his biological father came and joined him on a job. My husband paid them both and then his dad stole his money from him .
The kid’s grandmother died from cancer. With the life insurance policy, the grandfather bought a new truck and travel trailer and retired. We didn’t see him much after that. I remember thinking how sad it was that he had lost his wife. That his son was a drug addict and that the only satisfaction he got was after he was alone. He could finally live the life that he wanted with all this new money and time and yet he had no one to share it with and the cost was so high. He had spent his entire life slaving away and then he died after only six months of being free from the burden of the daily grind. Cancer took him too. He was retired military. The kid says the government killed him. Exposure to poisons while he fought for our country.
The kid told me that his grandfather hated to be alone. So he remarried. Six months later he was dead. The new wife took everything. I think the kid was expecting a big payday after the funeral. It never came.
It’s messed up. But most families are. The thing that really impressed me is that this kid was still alive. All of these shitty life circumstances stacked against him. He could have been curled up and lying on the floor. In the gutter with a needle in his arm. Behind bars. But he wasn’t. He chose to keep living.
It’s not your circumstances that define you. It’s what you do when you’re in your darkest of dark places. It’s how you get up off the floor that builds true character.