23 July 2011
I wish you hadn't. I wish you were still here. I wish I could have told you all of the things I wanted to when I saw you last. I didn't, because I didn't want my last time with you to be sad. I didn't want to say goodbye. Saying goodbye made it too real.
I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I didn't spend more time with you. I'm sorry I didn't hug you more, listen to you more. I'm sorry I wasn't with you when you left us. And I'm sorry you won't get to meet more of your grandchildren, and I'm even more sorry they won't get a chance to meet you.
But you're not gone, not really. You won't be gone until all of us whose lives you touched, all of us who remember you, are gone.
And I can take comfort from that.
Because when that day comes I will be gone as well. Which means I never have to live without you. You live on in my heart. You live on in my mule-headed stubbornness. You live in my eyes, my nose, my chin - and every time I look in the mirror I see a little of you.
I will miss you more than I can ever put into words. But just because you're no longer here doesn't mean you're gone. And it doesn't mean I love you any less.
09 July 2011
If I let my mind wander for even a minute I find myself overcome with tears. But I'm not crying, haven't cried since I got back to Louisiana.
We laugh and we smile and we try to make grandpa's last days here as painless and full of love as possible.
But it's hard.
When I feel myself begin to unravel, when I feel myself begin to tear up I imagine that I am, actually tearing in two. From just behind my eyes down my chest on through my stomach.
Then I imagine a giant needle and thread and I slowly loop a stitch around the tear. When I finish, usually up to about my throat, I take a deep breath and pull the thread tight.
It buys me a few more minutes to smile and laugh with grandpa.
08 July 2011
My grandfather is dying in the next room.
It's not going to be in the next few minutes, and probably not in the next few hours. But his time left can be measured in days - not weeks.
I've come home to say goodbye.
I've been crying almost nonstop since Monday. It took days before I turned to any of my friends to share what was going on. Even then, it was only short statements to let them know why I've been acting strangely.
This is partially (maybe mostly) my own fault. I really hate to feel as though I am manipulating others and go to great lengths not to sway people. I don't particularly like being the center of attention and I absolutely despise being coddled. I say I've done nothing but cry since Monday but my crying as been done out of sight. Ducking into empty rooms and around corners. I never intended for anyone to see me at all.
Yet when you spend most of your day crying so hard it physically hurts you, it exhausts you, what are you to think when not a soul notices?
I want to grab people by the shirt and shout in their faces. I want to shake them, curse at them, beat against their chests.
Can't they see I'm in pain?
Can't they see everything in me is being ripped apart?
I've been falling to pieces in front of their eyes and they aren't even seeing me. How can anyone be so blind? Who are you to mistake my false smiles for the real thing?
I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to run. I want to take everything I own, head for the hills and never look back. I want to not care because caring hurts too much to bear right now.
I want to wrap my arms around someone and cry until I just don't have anything left in me. I want to hear them say I'll be okay because right now I don't believe it. It doesn't feel like anything will ever be okay again.
But I can't do any of that.
Because I'm the strong one.
I'm the rock.
I'm the person you can always turn to when things go wrong.
I'm the one who drops everything and races cross-country so that you won't go through your own pain alone.
I'm not sure I know how to be anything else. I'm not sure I know how to accept people's good will. Sympathy actually makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don't know how to deal with it, I don't know how to be gracious about receiving help when the last thing I want is to talk about it.
I understand this isn't rational, it's pure emotion and makes no sense. Emotions so rarely do.
My pain is my own, guarded jealously from those who might wish to share it. I would never willingly place that burden on another. But is it too much to ask that someone see that I struggle and take on the burden without asking?
And why is it I can sit down and right all this to put on the internet for strangers to see, but I can't openly tell the people closest to me?