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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let it be

18th May 2012
Dear Cassi,

The other day I came across and old black and white photograph of two people and a baby. They were sitting alongside a house in the middle of what looks like a farm. The couple was alien to me on first glance and I do not believe that I have seen this image before but after some thinking I believe the man to be Grandpa Leland and the woman Grandma Ann.
This would make the boy Alan the man who donated half my genetic material. I’m told that mother and Leland got on well, but that Leland had some bad times with his wife Ann. My paternal grandparents spent the last decade of Leland’s life having nothing to do with one another.

Back then people would shy about divorce. Ann had told me that in her day once you left home you never came back. Further, that her own father had seen the trouble her married life had come to and offered to let her come back home. This was a grand gesture that never came to pass.
I have never heard Leland’s side of this as he died when I was rather young. He was given some respect in death, more than Alan showed my mother, in that he was forgotten and rarely spoken of. Ann did speak ill of him but never when into specifics. She said he was a hard man to live with, but what she meant by it escapes me.
Still, let’s give credit where credit is due, Ann was a hard person to live with as far as I can tell. She told me that once they made a recording of her screaming at her children and played it back for her benefit. It was a badge of shame she still carries. There was enough love left for that old man for me to bear his name within my own.

When we speak ill of the dead we often speak ill of ourselves. This is not a rule but a bit to ponder over. The living can always try to make amends, but the dead are no so capable. The anger we hold for them is a cancer within yourself.

Leave the dead in the ground, little sister

Richard Leland Neal