Old Man Will
Three years ago, my grandpa passed away tragically. He was the healthiest grandparent I had, but left us first. I had forgotten today was the actual day he died, I just associate it with the entire Memorial Day weekend. But here are some things I've been reflecting on.
- •Where I was.With the boyfriend at the time. I was living in Texas, he was in Kentucky for an internship, and I was visiting him for the weekend. Looking back, I think this is why he was brought back into my life. So I could be with him that weekend, 1000 miles closer to home and with someone I knew and trusted on the worst night of my life.
- •How I felt.So confused. He was choking on a piece of freaking steak, got up from the table, passed out in the bathroom and never woke up. The details came to me so slowly, and I just couldn't make it make sense. Medically, emotionally, my brain felt like a million pieces were missing.
- •The funeral.So insane. Seeing my dad, the only son, crying when he saw his best friends. The line wrapping through the entire building they had shut down for us. For him. Knowing how many people he had touched. My Nana, like a soldier, sitting through hours of 'I'm sorry' and 'we're praying for you.' Not being afraid to look someone in the eye and say 'who are you, again?'
- •The Mass.Walking down the aisle holding hands with my mom and sister, behind Dad and Nana. The opening song, 'Here I Am, Lord' that was never ending. I even looked at my mom and said 'make the damn thing stop.' My sister's brave voice. Seeing everyone raise their hands when asked who had ever played golf with him. The golf prayer at the end of the homily. Me, losing it after the golf prayer, but still reading the petitions. My dad, losing it walking out of church.
- •The cemetery. The meal. Just looking around in bewilderment.
- •I miss his laugh. I miss the way he would jangle the change in his pocket. I miss going over to their house on Sunday nights and watching 60 Minutes, eating black popcorn out of a stainless steel bowl. I miss how he was the only person who would kiss me on the cheek, both sides. I miss making him proud.
- •Holidays are not the same. My wedding was not the same. Home is not the same.
- •It's so weird knowing my husband never met him. That my future kids will never know him. Only in stories, pictures. Like my own great grandfathers I never knew.
- •I know grandparents are going to die. Everyone said 'this is how he would have wanted to go.' Fast, quick, little suffering. But fuck that. We weren't ready.