Sunday, January 15, 2012

Steps toward bravery.

I'm finally ready to post this--just for your reading, though, just to share, and not for a response. I believe in taking steps toward bravery and vulnerability, even if it's in a medium as small as one's little corner of the internet.

November 10, 2011

Today my grandpa died.

He was supposed to die yesterday, three weeks ago, ten years ago. They’ve thought he was leaving a lot of times; he’s just a fighter. Man of steel, mom said.

My mom has cared for this man all her adult life, when no one was really around to take care of her. You have your husband but he doesn’t care for you the same way your parents do. She cleaned out their fridge and had the cameras installed in their house to watch them, keep them safe.

The ultimate safety is death.

But that truth doesn’t often transfer well to us still here.

For mom it’s probably about goodbye; for me it’s all the things we didn’t get to do. Not in a I’m-so-gypped way, but a sad reality that’s-the-way-it-was way. That makes no sense.

I want to know him.
I want to know the whole story.
I want to know the battles my mom fought with him as her father.
I want to know the full extent of his genius, about what the patent from 1963 on my bookshelf really means. People ask me and I don’t know.

I watched him watch TV for those months we cared for them. He told us stories, but I still don’t know. I just watched him watch TV, filled up the hot water bottles the way he liked, got impatient when he wasn’t all the way ready to go to bed when we arrived, sweats-clad after long school days and just ready to sleep.

When I was driving home from a meeting in which a girl thoughtlessly joked about my grandpa’s death, I wanted to go to the house where all of that happened. Where I played with handed-down toys with dying batteries, enough to confuse the duck’s sound with the cow’s. Grandma had bright brown hair then--I never saw the gray roots.

I want to sleep, or throw up.
I thought I knew how to process death. Checkmark shebang bam alakazam I’ve got it. A lie to keep myself functioning. Plus I would be heartless—worse than selfish—if I did. 

Sad. I feel sad.

I feel sad about the memories I don’t have for writing in this moment. Just the blaring TV is coming back to me. Running into him at cougar creations in the Wilkinson center—being a little embarrassed that running into my grandpa could happen to me. Didn’t I know this man well enough not to run into him? I mean, see him often enough that our paths would naturally cross?

They did, every Thursday. Why can’t I remember more about grandpa on Thursdays? He took ages in the bathroom.

None of this is right. I need sleep and time.

I need to let my heart ache even if I feel I don’t have permission to let it.
Ache, heart. Do your thing. I set you free.
The ultimate freedom is in death.

Writing like this seems lame but I still think it’s important while it’s fresh. No judgment, just feelings and thoughts that float by in this moment—today, the day of his death. My grandpa is dead. He is gone. He is happy. I want to know him.