Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grief

My grandpa passed away on Saturday, May 9. I wrote the following a week later on May 16.

Grief is a funny thing. I sat with my family at my grandpa's bedside last Saturday and watched him struggle to breathe, struggle to talk. All I could understand was when he told my cousin Annika, "I love you." We all said good bye, and I had trouble getting out my request that he give my grandma a big hug. My mom's cousin arrived, and he acknowledged her presence, and then was gone. I knew it was coming, and I hoped it was a false alarm. But no pulse. I was OK for a few minutes, but then the tears came back. We made calls to family and to church.

Tuesday, I returned to work. One of my coworkers is Colombian, and I like practicing my Spanish with her. I thought maybe I wouldn't have too much trouble if I told her in Spanish. I was wrong. Tears.

I expected to be emotional at the viewing and graveside service yesterday (Friday). It was deeply moving. I stood in front of my hero's casket and looked at him. I liked how he had a bit of a smirk (which he did not have when he died... I'm not sure if that happened naturally when they closed his mouth, or what), and I rejoiced that he was finally free of his pain. He's in glory with my grandma in the presence of Jesus. Our family friend Mark Halstrom spoke eloquently at the grave site next to the flag-draped coffin. A soldier played Taps on the bugle, and then the soldiers folded the flag and presented it to my mom. It was an amazing, moving ceremony. But I was not expecting the lack of tears at the graveside. I've felt a mixture of pain, relief and joy that he is no longer suffering.

Then this morning, as I was pulling out of the driveway, I drove over a snail. I had tried to save its life by kicking it out of the way before leaving, but it wouldn't budge. I tried to avoid it, but the tire rolled over it and smushed it. That was more traumatic than it would have otherwise been.

Then, this evening, after not crying (much) for a few days, I noticed my grandpa's World War II Veteran hat sitting on the couch. And lost it. The flag pin on it is askew. I was always fixing that when he wore it. I was slightly baffled how I could stand in front of his body and not cry, but then lose it when I noticed his hat.

Grandpa, I miss you! See you soon!

1 comment :

  1. Steven, great job of writing and expressing yourself. Yes, grief can be so unexpected and intrusive. You are right, grandpa is home and out of pain.
    Love ya, dad

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