When My Grandson Explained Why He Doesn’t Get Mad at His Bullies

This is a thank you to a young man, Jesse, who was never expected to survive infancy. But Jesse has an inner strength that is amazing, and he’s made it past that big 30th birthday. If we had more people with his gentle attitude, perhaps we’d have world peace.

Thank you, Jesse, for all the times you came to me when I was in distress. Those times when you were just a child and I was suffering from depression with a mind tearing around in chaotic confusion. Or when the pain of migraines shattered my brain. Somehow you knew when I was hurting. And you just sat beside me. You didn’t say anything. Didn’t try to solve my problems. You were just a quiet presence. A loving, calming anchor. I didn’t physically grasp onto you, but I held you in the space we shared, and my mind slowed down, my heartbeat leveled out and I could breathe again. It was as though you absorbed some of my pain.

Thank you for all the laughter you’ve brought me over the years. And for those moments that were deeper than the laughter — moments that were filled with your caring, that were more than a response to a joke or a funny moment shared. They were a sharing of your heart. A sharing of you.

Thank you for always being Jesse. For not trying to make yourself someone you’re not. Thank you for not being angry with people who hurt you. I remember once when you were young, we sat at a table in a public place. Some young kids were sitting at a table next to the one we chose, and when we sat down, they stared at you, then got up and moved to another table. They kept looking over at you, whispering and laughing. You glanced at them a few times, always smiling. I felt pain for you because I knew you were aware they’d moved away because you were different.

Later when we were alone, I asked how you felt when other kids avoided you or bullied you. You looked at me and shrugged. You told me you didn’t get mad or upset because you knew they simply didn’t understand. You knew you made kids and grown-ups uncomfortable because you were different and they didn’t know how to react. “It’s OK, Grandma. I understand.” You patted my arm, comforting me! You were so benevolent. So forgiving. You still are.

I wondered where all that wisdom came from at your young age, and then I realized you were a stronger person as a child than I was as an adult. I’ve forgotten the exact details of that incident, but I’ve never forgotten the pride I felt for you. Still feel for you.

Thank you for being my grandson. You have shown me lessons in patience, in sharing, in accepting, in loving, in goodness. I’m not the best student of your lessons, but I hold you in my heart with pride. And deep love.

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