Grandaddy (poem)


He died this day, 1969.

He was 61, and had knelt to pray,

or so it is said.

It was a bit after dinner,

a visit with his sister,

then back home with Granny.

In their little town.


She found him kneeling,

and discovered him gone.

I was 6 and had never seen her cry.

Never before, nor after

just 2 days after her 61st birthday,

tainted by the loss of her husband.


Reformed, he was.

Some say he was Saved by Jesus.

He was in Recovery

after a lifetime

of being the drunk.


One said he tried to quit many times before.

He went to Program,

at a place called the Shepherd Home

I guess it finally took.

He became a righteous man.

He read the Bible and prayed daily.


We all do what we need to do

in this world to make it

livable, bearable, tolerable,

joyful, cheerful, heartening,

to make it loving–to ourselves,

to those we love.


Grandaddy healed himself, finally.

He was a proud Leo,

proud of himself,

and proud of his grandbabies.

Or as he said, “the b.a.b.b.y.’s”


Remembered for his levity,

as much as for his drinking,

and as much for his sobriety,

he was president of the “Liars Club of Belhaven”,

the mantle passed to him

by Mr. Heber Wilkinson, another character, in the 1940’s.

I found that in an old newspaper

where they used to report such important events.


He made his family’s life miserable for years.

To others he seemed to enjoy life.

Even without the drink,

he loved to joke and prank.


Grandaddy’s father was a stern,

perhaps abusive man.

4 of 6 of this man’s adult children

became terrible drinkers. 

The rest were enablers.

Generations of toxicity.


He spoiled my father,

then he belittled him,

then he stole from him,

because of this disease.


This disease robbed me of a father

who felt good about himself,

good about his creative ability,

his intelligence,

his actions.


Thus robbing my brother

of the same.

And the circle

Be Unbroken

By and by.


8 Responses to “Grandaddy (poem)”

  1. Julie Says:

    Well, shoot, was thinking it was the 30th. That’s the day Grandaddy passed on.

  2. Jaymie Says:

    Love the ending – hints at Grandaddy calling on something higher to pull him free. Funny how it is called liquid courage when it is really another thing to hide behind.

  3. Julie Says:

    Yes, I felt weird about posting it because I didn’t want to offend anyone in my family, but I don’t think they read it much. I still think so much of him, although I was only 6 when he passed. From things I’ve been told about him, we actually are a lot alike.

  4. Near and dear subject matter for me. Well written

    • Julie Says:

      Thank you so much! I’ve just starting writing poetry and I’m in love with it. Never liked it before, but now I wake up and I’ll have poems waiting in my heart to be written. I feel so blessed about it.

  5. gbaugh Says:

    Julie, I like the way you started the poem with your grandfather’s death. You showed his wife’s pain, “I was 6 and had never seen her cry”

    His attempts at recovery, “He went to Program” and his struggles with alcohol, to how he helped himself. “Grandaddy healed himself, finally”

    To what he was thought of, “Remembered for his levity,”

    You then explained why he was the way he was, “Grandaddy’s father was a stern”

    Then your loss’ “This disease robbed me of a father”

    I read this straight through, it flowed beautifully, and held emotion in each word. This is a very good poem thank you for posting it. Wonderful!

    Gerardine Baugh

    • Julie Says:

      OMG, I had seen your last comment first. Thank I saw more comments and I’m excited to read them. I’m so glad you read this and commented. I was a little fearful of posting it, because I thought it might offend someone in my family if they read it, but it was one of those poems that comes in such an inspired way. I’ve just started writing, and it’s like this feeling & inspiration and the words come out of my heart directly to paper (or keyboard!). It’s one of the headiest feelings I’ve ever had.

      Thank you again for your kind words.

  6. […] called the Shepherd’s Home.  I think I wrote a poem about him.  Let me find it…. Here it is!  Read the poem and you’ll learn a lot about Granddaddy.  I love him so much, and know […]

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