One of my grandfathers died a bitter man.

Before he died, we all saw that bitterness that took root in his life all because he was never able to forgive his father (essentially for showing favoritism to the prodigal son, his brother). Everybody knew it and saw it. 

On the other side of my dad’s family, my great grandfather had lost two wives and both of his kids in his life. He buried all of them. He had survived all of them--and he thrived. How did he handle this insanely tragic life? What he CHOSE to do was to be happy and joyful. 

He was a dentist and came from nothing. He put many of his siblings through school as well. He accepted chickens as payments from the people in poverty who he served. 

He was a very kind man. 

Even though I don’t remember him personally, my parents tell me that when I was a toddler I loved him and had a strong connection with him. 

And that connection continues through the legacy he left.

When Maeve died, I thought about both of these grandfathers in my family line. I saw my life through the lens of my heritage. Their two paths diverged based on their choices, and I knew, even as I laid in the hospital, that those two paths lay in front of me. 

It was up to me which one I was going to take.