Last month, my grandfather passed away. At 24 years old, it was the 1st time I ever had to deal with death. To say that I cried is an understatement.
I cried because he is no longer on this earth. Who would I share peanut butter cups with? Who would sing me songs that had my name in them? Who would tell me I was his favorite granddaughter (I was his only granddaughter)?
I cried because I felt like a jerk for being sad about his death. He had been sick for awhile and was no longer in pain; wasn’t it better this way? I also felt like a jerk, because death is not a unique situation. It happens to everyone and we all have to deal with it multiple times over the course of our lives. I wasn’t special for losing someone.
I cried for my grandmother, his partner of over 70 years. They danced together, laughed together, and held hands every night as they fell asleep. They were lifelong companions, still as in love with each other as they were on the day they were married. It was hard to imagine her living a life without him. I will never forget my grandmother’s hand in mine as we stood next to his casket at the cemetery and she asked if she had to leave, if she had to say goodbye.
I cried for my father and my aunts and uncle. They no longer had their father on this earth, and I was so sad for them. The man who had raised them, the man they all could tell hours of stories about. That great man they all admired and loved for 50 odd years was gone. I also cried for my cousins and brother; like me, they had lost someone important, someone who had always been there.
I cried because for 24 years, he was my biggest fan. He came to every soccer game and tennis match and stayed until the very end. Every school play, choir recital or school ceremony, he was usually in the font row with a big smile on his face. Who would be there now?
I can’t say that things are better. Every time I see a peanut butter cup, I feel a tinge of sadness. I still hear his laugh in my head and I fear for the day when I can’t hear that sound, my favorite sound. Even as I write this, my face is wet with tears and I feel a dull headache forming. I have cried so much, I think my sinuses wish they could extricate themselves from my head, just for some peace.
When do I stop feeling sad? Is it just one day, I’ll wake up and it won’t hurt? I won’t feel my own hurt and the hurt of others in my family? I don’t want to forget him, but I wish I could stop feeling sad. When is it going to be better?