Sunday night I found out some horrible news.
I talked to my dad on the phone, knowing something was wrong but not sure exactly what. I thought about his cancer. Maybe something had gone really wrong?
Until he said these words "Grandpa died today"
I didn't understand. Grandpa wasn't supposed to die. Grandpa was supposed to live forever.
I had heard that it was bad. Our trip down to SoCal for Christmas was because my dad really felt like this would be Grandpa's last Christmas. His dementia was worsening. His health was deteriorating. Still, I didn't want to believe.
I wanted to think that my grandpa would make it to see me graduate college. It's just a couple years away. I wanted him around when I finally got married, to see how beautiful I will look on that day. A big part of me knew that he would never make it that long, but still there was that little part of me that hoped beyond hope that maybe, just maybe, he'd still be around.
It's hard. It's so hard to look at pictures, taken just a year ago. To think about Christmas, just a couple of months ago. It's hard to do that and not tear up at the thought of never being able to wrap my arms around him again.
I'm so far away from what's going on, that I feel like I will be able to fly down there and he will be there, ready to hug me when I walk in the door. We can go for a walk around the neighborhood like we used to.
I loved the sound of my name from his lips.
My grandpa was an amazing man. An awesome husband, a good dad. He was a rowdy kid. A rolled up newspaper out one side of the car on the morning paper route and a lit match out the other.
I've heard his mother broke a broom over his backside on a weekly basis.
He taught my dad to drive in a time where manual transmissions were the norm and I've heard the man could make gears sing. I've heard my dad tell stories of driving advice when he was having trouble keeping the car in the lane. "This isn't a sail boat, you don't need to tack into the wind."
He hated mushrooms.
I remember feeling like his disease had robbed me of getting to really know him. To know the him that was happy and active and didn't stutter when talked. But even though I felt like I wasn't as close to him as my cousins were, I could still hug him. I could still talk to him. He still loved me.
I was his pear thief when I was little. He used to eat a lot of pears. Before we moved all the way to Idaho I would crawl up in his lap and steel bites of his pears. I still like eating pears, though these days they are the canned variety and not the fresh. Unfortunate.
Everyone keeps asking me if I'm okay. And to be honest, I have no idea if I'm okay or not. I feel like if I don't think about it, then I can't be sad. But then in quiet moments, or when I see a picture of him (because on FB we've all changed our profile pictures to ones with him) and it's hard to imagine that he's gone.
It's hard to imagine the severity of someone's gone-ness. We say goodbye, but we never really say goodbye. Our farewell's are much more in a 'I will see you again later' form and less in a 'This is the last time I will see your smiling face' manner.
Which is for the most part how we operate. And we do see each other again. So wrapping my brain around the fact that my grandpa is missing? Not something I'm too keen on doing.
I'm missing a man whom without I wouldn't even be around. He's been a big part of our family. He was my grandma's best friend. They were married for over 50 years.
It's hard to write about him in the past tense. It's hard to know that next week sometime I will be making a fast trip to San Diego for a funeral. Funeral is such a HARD word to think about. My mom told me that if I want to say a few words about him I'm more than welcome too.
I may or may not write anything. Who knows.
But one thing is certain, he's with his Maker now. And probably the happiest he's been in YEARS.
Today it thundered. It's been a joke in our family that the thunder happens when the angels go bowling and get strikes. Well, I choose to believe that he's up there bowling with them and playing a perfect game. Because everyone knows that that old man could skunk us all at bowling, even with Parkinson's disease and he grinned like a little boy the whole time he was doing it.
I just can't believe he's gone.