Hard for me to believe fifteen years will have passed since this picture was taken... and now I'm crying. *sniffle* Okay... so anyways, fifteen years ago I convinced my mother to let me stay an entire month with my grandparents in Arizona. To my complete shock, she agreed! Life wasn't exactly peaches and cream at this point in my family's history (hey, we love each other, we do!) and I needed the break. My grandparents agreed and I went down there for a month of peace and quiet. The thirty days that followed were filled with movies, too much ice cream and rice crispy treats. In other words, it was fricken awesome!
Grandpa and I had written letters back and forth for years, something that continued even after I left home. So it was with great shock when the call came a year ago that he'd died. And Grandma didn't deliver the news subtly. No she just came right and said, "Grandpa's dead." The neighbors probably heard me scream. This was my first family death and it was the grandparent I was closest with.
The week that followed was an emotional roller coaster, as I came to grips with being a 'was' instead of an 'am'. At the funeral, one of the church members asked how everyone knew my grandfather. I stopped beside my father and that's when the full brunt of grief struck me. I couldn't tell the woman I was his granddaughter, because then I'd have to admit out loud he really was gone. I wrapped my arms around my Dad and just cried and cried. The heartbreak was almost unbearable and I thought for a second I wouldn't be able to cope. I thought I'd be one of those family members screaming hysterically at the front of the church, "Why, why, why?" My mother, in her infinite strength, with tears streaming down her face, said I could, I'd be fine.
Only two more break downs occurred after that. One when I was sorting through twenty years of paperwork, feeling guilt for going through my grandfathers things, and another when I packed up the last jacket I remember him wearing. The following weeks Mom and I kept ourselves pretty busy getting Grandma ready for her big move to the South.
Months passed as we all adjusted to a new life caring for Grandma and one without Grandpa. In September, I stopped for a moment and stared at a clock Grandpa had made. He was a genius with wood, almost every decoration in my house and my parents is hand-crafted by him. And as I stood there, realizing there would be no more surprise handmade gifts arriving for any of us, that what we had was it, I started crying again. My mom came up and wrapped her arms around me and said she'd had this same moment a week ago. I asked if it ever gets easier, better with time? She said no, but maybe it can become more acceptable. I wiped the tears away and took a deep breath. More acceptable? Perhaps.
I still miss him so much my heart hurts and I hate, so much I can't even express, that I'll go through this again, and again, and again. I know this is life, but I just can't help but wonder if the grief will multiply, if with each death I'll just feel sadder and sadder? Or will they each affect me differently and like with my grandfather, I'll just have to move on and take moments to feel sad and know that's okay. Maybe the first year is hardest and with each passing one, the grief will fade a little more. I have no idea. Guess I'll find out.
Thanks all, for reading... for listening.