Thursday, October 17, 2013

15 years later....grief, sadness and bathing suits.

Today is a hard day for me, it has been a hard day for me for the last 15 years. You see, on this date in 1998 I lost the most amazing man I have or will ever know; My Pop-pop. My childhood put it lightly, a hard one. There often was no happiness in it, but when Pop was around I was all smiles and giggles. He could light up a room with his smile and he could make the most out of the worst of times. I needed him, and when he died I still needed him, and as I sit writing this I still need him.

I keep thinking that time will actually improve the hurt that I feel, that the hollowness I feel without his presence will somehow fill up and yet as soon as October 17th rolls around I am sad and I feel his loss all over again. I call this my 'Sad day' because I weep for most of it, and I grieve like the wound is fresh again. I've found much comfort in sharing stories about him, photos of him and telling his great-grandchildren about him. I've even gone so far as to mimic the things he did for my sisters and I in our childhood. Things like taking us to the Museums and sharing the silly adventures he would create for us.

The pain I feel when faced again with the anniversary of his death is one like no other. It's not just
pain, it's so much more. It's a sadness that generations to come won't know him, that people don't know him the way I did, a fear that somehow the memory of him will die and I can't let that happen. I find that year after year it gets harder to recall the sound of his voice, the memories fade and I'm fighting to keep them because I have generations of children left to tell about him.

Part of it is also guilt. When he died I was 14 years old, he had been bed ridden for several years before his passing. He couldn't speak or move, he was paralyzed. I took care of him, I tried to teach him to speak again but failed, I did manage to teach him to communicate yes and no with a series of blinks, but he was trapped in his own mind, unable to speak or move. I know he couldn't have been happy, I know he wasn't. I would sit with him, talk to him, bathe him, feed him and hold his hand, he was my best friend. When he died, I was so angry at him. I hated him for leaving me there with people who treated me like garbage, I hated him because when he died it was the first time I felt alone. I'm still mad at myself for hating him, for my selfishness.

I suppose that in losing him, I lost a parent. I'm not very close to my mother and my father is a man who raped my mother, so I'm certainly not close to him! My Pop-pop was the only person who loved me unconditionally as a child, or at least the only person I remember loving me. It's a hard thing to let go of, I don't know if 15 years later it's normal to grieve this way. I know that it has become my normal. That I plan to try and do things on October 17th to celebrate him and that I cry an awful lot and the sadness is uncontrollable. I think I'll always miss him this much.

However, because he was silly and he would have HATED to see me crying as much as I  have just
writing this I give you Pop-pop in a bathing suit!

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