February 23rd, 2012 marked the 26th anniversary of my grandfather’s death. My mother was 16 years old when he passed away. My mother was very close to him, and his death, I am sure, affected her in many ways. I have never really felt the need to change anything in my life, but if I could, I would want to meet him.
As more time passes and the older I get, more people talk to me about my grandfather. I get small bursts of happiness when someone tells me, “You look like your grandfather.” A couple of months ago, I was at a party and a distant relative approached me and took me to their table, “I can’t find your mom or dad around, so I will tell you; we want to drink in memory of your grandfather. I knew him personally and he was an amazing person…”After talking to them and thanking them, I ran to the bathroom and cried because I was so jealous that these people had met him and I had not. As I grow older, that feeling doesn’t go away, and I always want to know more and hear more. I want to ask my mother for more about him, but I know it hurts her even now to talk about him and I try not to. One of the things I regret the most was not realizing that my grandfather’s mother would tell me about him. She passed away last year, but before that I was young and I never asked her about him because she scared me.
He was born on April 11, 1939. He was a dentist. When I look at family photos, I see that he was a family man. My mother told us that they always went on vacation and spent a lot of time together. She also says that, “he loved Armenia very much and never wanted to leave.” That always made me feel that I was somehow betraying his memory by loving America and wanting to stay here. But then I started to get involved in ANCA. I will never forget the day that my mother and I were sitting and I was excitedly talking about the Armenian Cause. She stopped me and said, “Your grandfather would have been very proud of you.” I felt connected to him and that is something that I would want to keep with me forever. For some people, interning and volunteering might be a hassle, but for me, it makes me feel connected to something that I never had: a relationship with my grandfather.
Even though my grandfather died before I was born, he has influenced my brother and me through my mother. She raised us just as he raised his children. I am very blessed to have a mother who will sit with me and talk about anything. She always tells me that her father did the same for her and that is why they were very close. I know that when I visit Armenia this summer, I will definitely ask my uncle to take me to all the places that he enjoyed going to. I love my heritage a lot, but one of the main reasons that I want to be aware of Armenian history is because of my grandfather. The reason I want to be involved is because I know that it would make him proud and that is something that I will probably spend my whole life achieving.