Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

A Gift from My Grandfather

Excerpted from my grandfather’s will. He died when my father was ten, making him an orphan (his mother died in 1928, of complications that arose from my father’s birth) and immersing the family in a fierce custody battle over him between his very young stepmother and his much-older siblings. My father had found a box of old papers and photographs that had been given to him when his sister died; and he was so excited to show me the dozens of court documents that detailed the turmoil of his young life.  This last page of his father’s will was among them.  It is especially poignant now that my father is 81 and ill with cancer.  

Rather than saddening me, it gave me an unexpected moment of peace and joy.  Somehow, a man I never had the opportunity to know had reached across decades to give a bit of comfort to his son and unknown granddaughter.  It showed me, in an instant, how the truly good soul of my father had been shaped in ten brief years.

And it reaffirms a universal truth:  the gift of a father’s love is utterly timeless.
Thank you, Grandfather. Until we all meet again.  

New Rochelle, N.Y.
February 24th 1937.  

If this will is found with my effects after my death it will be my only will and it is my last will, and cancels any will I may have made prior to this date.

In this my last will and testament I leave my love and hopes to my children for a long and happy life and ask that my furneal [sic] be of simple form, with least possible expense, and above all things remember that I have just gone ahead for a while so smile and make the best of the changed conditions, and be of good heart, and never forget your God, place your full faith in God and always look upwards and you never need to fear for the future or what is called death.

My love to all of you my children who have always been fine, beautiful and everything any father can hope for, I only wish I could feel that I was as good a father as you have been children.
Until we meet – again.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.
HC Olsen

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Filed under Family, Grief and Loss, Parents