Lake Mendocino

Lake Mendocino

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Happy Birthday Grandpa (a little early)

I was resting on my bed yesterday. I believed in the moment that I wasn't actually asleep, when I was suddenly struck with a thought. I realized that I couldn't remember the last time that I had talked to my grandfather. I was somewhat aghast at that realization. I threw my mind back and back; I thought that maybe we had spoken or seen each other in May or June at a family gathering. I couldn't quite put my finger on when, though. I resolved to call him, in that moment. I recited his phone number in my head and reached (and this should have been a clue) to open my computer.

I felt guilty, as I assume other grown children do, that we hadn't spoken in so long. I was momentarily worried that he would be upset at my prolonged silence, but then I remembered calling him once after a very long absence, one where I had consciously pulled away from him for nearly a year. He had been quite happy to hear my voice. Armed with that memory I knew he would simply be happy that I called today. I also reasoned that if he wanted to speak with me, he would have called me.

It took several minutes of what I now realize was my slow coming to wakefulness, before I remembered that Grandpa was dead and has been for a dozen years. I'l be honest that one of the first things I did upon that realization was to worry that I forgot he was dead. Am I developing dementia?!?

Once I moved beyond the multiple bouts of near panic, I realized that I miss Grandpa, and it kinda hurts. Do I sound surprised? I am a bit. I loved him, I did. When I was a little girl we were so close. When I was a teenager we fought constantly. As a young adult, although he could be very supportive, he could also be grossly negative about my choices in life, railing against a foolish decision or even many logical ones. After my grandmother died, he and I lived on a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs. He fell into a deep depression and become very verbally abusive. A few years before he died I had to cut off contact in order to save my own waning sanity. We reconciled when he got sick and had some really lovely closure in his last days. Still, some part of me resents him for the years of verbal abuse.

I mourned him deeply when he died, so much so I had difficulty getting out of bed for weeks. Since then I've been very grateful for the generosity of his will and have a lovely home in large part because of him. But I haven't missed him in a long, long time.

So despite the sudden pain, I am happy to miss him again. He would have been ninety-eight in a few weeks. Happy Birthday Grandpa. I love you. I miss you. Thank you.

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