Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trying to heal...

Exactly two months ago, my grandfather drew in his final breaths as my family members looked on, held hands, and cried. I wasn't there.

I haven't dealt with it. Losing him. In fact, I don't think I have said aloud "My grandfather died." I realized lately that I'm very hypocritical. I talk all the time about how it's best to face your problems, deal with them, and put them behind you. But, here I am, avoiding it all. I haven't dealt with and accepted his death. And, it makes sense, psychologically. I haven't had to deal with it. I stayed away, I didn't talk to my family members, I didn't talk about it at all. When I don't talk about it or think about it, it doesn't hurt as much. But, I know that if I don't try, if I don't start on a path to acceptance, I'll never be able to be myself again.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone you know you'd never see again? It ranks up there with the top 3 hardest things I've ever had to do. On Labor Day weekend, I went to North Carolina to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday. And, before having to rush to the airport, I had to tell my grandfather goodbye knowing that he wouldn't be alive the next time I came into town. I knew all weekend that I would have to say my final words to him and I spent many hours thinking of the perfect thing to say, but when the time came, I failed. I could hardly say anything. I did manage to take his hand and choke out, "Goodbye, Pop. I love you." To which he replied, "Love ya, girlie. Let us know when you get back in the city. Be safe, gal."

There hasn't been a single day since then that I haven't regretted not being able to tell him how much I love him. I should have spent more time with him that weekend. I should have asked my family to give us some time alone so that I could tell him everything, but 5 words was all I could do. How is it possible that when it really counted, I could only come up with 5 words?! Normally, all I have is words. I'm ashamed.

So, I have decided that the thing I really need is to get out those words that are inside of me. Like I had done before, I am going to write a letter. Here is an open letter to my grandfather: the greatest man I will ever know. (Editing note: It took me 7 hours, 1 roll of toilet paper, 1 glass of wine, and 6 glasses of water to write this letter.)


I miss you. I miss you every single day. And I'm so sorry I couldn't tell you what I was feeling when we were together last. But, I hope throughout the years, I told you enough that I love you. I hope that you always knew how much I respected you, how much I valued your opinion and how much I really needed and relied on your wisdom. I hope you know that I wasn't lying when I told you that I enjoyed spending hours at your house even if it was just sitting and watching tv with you.

And, I'm sorry - I'm sorry for all the times I didn't call, for the times I said I'd stop by and I never made it. I'm sorry for not being there with you in this past year, especially toward the end. For that, I'm eternally sorry.

I need you now. I need your advice, I need your encouragement. I feel so lost and I need you to tell me what to do.. or I at least need you to tell me that it's okay for me to not know what to do. The world, my world, feels empty without you here.

I can't hear you like I can hear others I've lost. I constantly hear my Dinnie's voice in my head every time I go outside with wet hair. "Dry your hair," she'd say. "You'll catch your death-a-cold going out with your hair soakin' wet." But, I can't hear you. Why can't I hear you?

I want to be like you. To be wise and successful and hard-working. I want to value fairness as you always had. I want to have your amazing ability to stand up for what is good and right and to expect to be treated with respect. You make me want to be the best. You cared for people; you genuinely cared. And not even people you knew, you cared and respected everyone you ever came across. You thought the same of the man who empties the trash as you did the CEO of that same company. To you, hard working people were all the same. No matter what job they had.

I'm angry. I hate that you're gone. I hate that you had to be taken away from me, from us. And I hate me for feeling sorry for myself. I'm selfish, I know, but I guess I just don't understand. Why? Why couldn't God, the fates, the pull of the universe, or whatever determines what happens just leave us alone for a while? Why you? Why now?

I know your body had failed you. I can't imagine the insurmountable amount of pain you must have been in. You were strong, unbelievably strong. And I, weak.. embarrassingly weak. Even now, I am feeling stupid and powerless because I'm having such a hard time letting you go. Everyone keeps telling me that you're not really gone, that you're always with me. But I can't feel you, I feel nothing, I'm alone.

I learned so much from you.

I thank you for being such an amazing individual. You were wonderful. You taught us all how to love, how to keep your heart open but when to know to close it. You taught us see the difference and know when to walk away and when to keep trying. You're an inspiration. And, if you're out there, in spirit or heart, maybe you can hear my thoughts or are looking down on me. If you are, please reach out to me, because I need you now. I need to feel you, I need to have you in my life. I'm trying to make my life right again and I need you to somehow be in that life again. I know I can't completely let you go.

I know this is probably mostly incoherent and incongruent and just a messy, messy set of words, but it feels nice to finally "pour my heart out" (if you'll allow the bad expression).

I love you, I miss you, we all do. I hope you knew how amazing you were.



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