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Until I See You Again

I debated whether or not to share this here on my blog. It won’t provide my readership with much value… other than understanding a bit of whats been on my heart. Or why I missed my usual (ish) weekly post.

My grandfather passed away last week.

And I thank you all for the many condolences. Although, if I’m being completely honest…they don’t really help. As I’m sure any grieving person would confirm. The politeness is truly appreciated but it changes nothing. There aren’t words or intentions that could pacify this type of pain.

You see, my life is messy. It always has been. In my life, the traditional roles of family members have always overlapped and blended in not so traditional ways. To cut to the chase – my mom had me young and my biological father is a deadbeat, my step real dad is not. And I’ve been so lucky to have him in my life since I was about six. But my grandparents have always played a primary caregiving role in my life rather than secondary. And therefore… it’s kind of like I lost my dad last week.

We were close. The kind of closeness that will leave my days feeling empty without him for years to come. It’s been about two weeks since I spoke to him last, and this is officially the longest I’ve ever gone without hearing his voice. My ears will ring in his silence forever.

I actually stopped deleting his voicemails ages ago, in preparation for this day. I can’t bring myself to listen to any of them yet though. I think I’m still in the denial phase. It’s nice here… I think I’ll stay as long as possible. I think many of the people who knew us well are surprised by “how well I’ve been taking it.” A couple people have mentioned it. But I can feel the grief storm slowly brewing inside of me.

Navigating my grief has not felt like I expected it would. I imagined an intense breakdown crushing me all at once, my husband expected it too. Maybe that would have been better? Instead it has been like scattered thunderstorms ruining the possibility of any completely sunny days. The ceaseless mothering of three children is ample distraction most of the time. But then Netflix recommends the Andy Griffith Show and an emotional train wreck racks my brain and consumes me.

I’ll be 27 next week and this is the first real loss that I have suffered. And I have literally been dreading it since I was a little girl. It has always been a sharp reality for me, that two people that I loved so dearly were already so old. For years as a little girl I asked God every night to keep my grandparents alive until at least 110. It’s kind of funny thinking of it now, but it speaks volumes about how much I’ve always loved him. Sprinkled in with all of my childish dreams each night I would ask God to delay taking my grandparents away from me.

He would have been 87 in June.

The Alzheimers had gotten worse the past couple of years but he never forgot my name. Sometimes in his fits of confusion he didn’t know where he was, but I remained a familiar face. My godmother recently told me that I was a “special gift that my mom gave to my grandfather.” It’s a description that I rather like; it brings balance to a complicated life dynamic in my family. My mom and my grandpa had a very loving but stressed relationship. They bickered a lot because my grandpa loved hard – it’s the only way he knew how. My mom sometimes says that in his eyes I was “the best thing she ever did.” It makes me laugh a little because I know how mad he was when she came home pregnant at 19. I know because… I too came home pregnant at 19. But we shared a bond that I know I will never experience again in this life.

I wish I would have thanked him out loud for being the voice inside my head, my fiercest protector, my most loyal friend. It was the deepest feeling of trust to have ever soothed my wild soul. My life is full of him. He will live on forever as the voice of my conscience and in the person that I am – a person that I surely would not have become without him. I will surely cling tighter now, to whatever time that I have left with my grandma.

Until I see you again, Grandpa. <3

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