Absence

After nearly a year, I’ve decided I’m ready to jump back into blogging. For those who don’t know, I lost both of my grandfathers in the early months of 2014. One was a slow, lingering deterioration that was truly heartbreaking, the other was a brief, two-week shock that I still don’t fully believe happened. Having had my grandparents in my life for 28 years, I was very close with them. The deaths of my grandfathers left my heart and spirit greatly fractured, and I just didn’t feel creative for almost a year. Instead, I’ve filled my spare time with reflection, meditation, and journaling. I was broken in a way I’d never experienced, and I didn’t really know what that should look like. I developed an obsession with scanning the old photographs and slides of both my grandfathers, perhaps in some hope that by restoring the old photographs, I was keeping them alive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally grateful for my lifestyle and job at that time allowing me to spend so much time with each grandfather at the ends of their lives, even if it was difficult. With Dedo, I was there to hold his hand when he was in pain, cry with him, feed him, and tuck him in when he was cold. We said everything we’ve ever left unsaid. I knew how much he loved me, and he knew how much I loved him. I would fall asleep in the chair next to his bed when he slept. Near the end, when he was mostly unresponsive, I sang to him and stroked his forehead. Painful, but no regrets.

My Papa went so quickly. After five months of watching one grandfather slowly fade away, I recognized rather quickly that my Papa wasn’t going home. However, in this case, it all happened so quickly that I didn’t get to tell him everything I wanted to until he was on life support and I didn’t know if he even heard me. I was so stunned by how rapidly Papa died that I still expect to find him in his favorite chair when I go visit my Nana.

During both deaths, I learned so much about relationships. I watched how my mother and father honored their fathers by sacrificing all of their free time to help with care, medical decisions, and just loving their fathers well. I learned a lot about love itself: it’s painful, it’s beautiful, and if it’s true, it never goes away. Both sets of grandparents were married for about 60 years, and suddenly my grandmothers were without their lifelong mates. They refused to leave my grandfathers’ sides. Their love was deep and real, and it only made my love for all of them greater. I learned that there must be something beyond death, as my grandfathers witnessed people who had already passed as well as what my Dedo could only describe as a “beautiful angel”. Though I was losing so much (and I’ve never cried so much in my life), my grandfathers were gaining everything.

All that to say, thank you for sticking with me and for being so patient. I’m starting to feel that creative urge again and hope to give you, my readers, so much more in the coming year.

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