It is only six o' clock at night, and yet somehow with all that has happened I feel as though it may be twenty years in the future rather than the here and now I am trying to cope with.
September 10th, 2014: my grandfather on my father's side passes away from a heart attack in the middle of the night unexpectedly. He was only 71. Not too old, but if he had taken better care of himself maybe ten more years could've been under his belt. We had never experienced death before, and so when I got the call saying he had died a little part of me wanted to scream and cry and react, yet I was held back by not knowing what to do or even how to do it properly. What was it like to grieve? Isn't it supposed to feel worse than this? I am hopelessly numb to the news, crying out of instinct rather than feeling, and it is only after the funeral and staying strong for my brother and sister that I finally immerse myself in the emotion of the death. Not even seeing the open casket had made me shed a tear, only the tears of others who had not known what was coming and had hoped it was all a lie.
October 23rd, 2014: my grandmother on my father's side dies peacefully in her home after over a year of struggling to make it by. The past few months I knew had been the worst of it. Her hair, always so perfectly done by the salon, had fallen out from the advanced rounds of chemo, and her weight was siphoning off quickly. Twinges of pain became sharper and more often, and soon enough she was given a constant flow of morphine to stem the suffering. In her last week she fell, suffered an intestinal blockage, and was unable to communicate save for shaking her hands and raising her eyebrows with a few facial expressions here and there, slack jawed and lying in a hospital bed in the middle of her living room. She claimed to see Grandpa, and when I received the news she had a week to live it seemed more of a relief than anything else. She had stopped eating at that point, and my aunt, who frequented the house to check up on my grandma, asked if Grandma wanted to see me or my sister or if she had anything we needed to know. Her last words before losing her consciousness was something along the lines of "I have said everything I needed to say, just tell them I love them."
If I had to describe grief...I would say it is very slow. Numbing, at first, then escalating to something more vivid and undeniable. The world around you hardly changes, but you perceive it in such a different light that you don't know what's different and what just feels wrong.
I think if I could say anything to Grandma before she passed, it would be that I was always grateful. Grateful she kept the family together for holidays with the worlds best Thanksgiving dinner, and the jolliest Christmas celebrations you could ever ask for. Grateful she spent time with my sister and I as kids, taking up to the State Fair every summer until she became too weak to withstand the Sun. And grateful that she always believed in me. She used to say my stories gave her chills, and for some reason I will always remember that.
I almost wish I were more upset, but to be honest at this point I am so happy she does not have to suffer the pain anymore. I imagine she is with Grandpa somewhere warm and tropical and beautiful, just being together and not having a care in the world. In the end, I think that's something we all want.
Listening to: My heartbeat
Reading: Between the lines
Watching: A scary movie