Thursday, September 18, 2008

Laughter and tears

Sylvia laughed! Just once, and while she was half-asleep, but it was a very cute laugh.

I realized I haven't actually written down what happened the day my grandpa died (If you don't want to read more sad stuff about my grandpa, skip this post--I won't be offended). I was looking through the missed calls on my phone and realized that on the 12th of August my grandma called three times within about five minutes at around 6:40. When I saw that I was worried something had happened to my grandpa--he had, after all, been sick quite a bit. It turned out Mimi had just missed a call and thought it might have been me calling, and was trying to return the call. I was relieved, and glad to hear from Mimi anyway. We would have talked longer, but both of us had other responsibilities to attend to (Sylvia for me, and Grandpa for her).

Later that evening Derrick and I were sitting on the futon and Sylvia let out a huge, juicy fart. Derrick said, "disgusting!" I looked at Sylvia and said, "nice one, kid," and she smiled.

The exchange was so funny we called my dad and related the story to him, and then called my grandparents and told them the story. Mimi told me Caleb and Tressa had been over to show Grandpa Caleb's new gun, which had cheered him up a bit. About then Sylvia started crying, which my Grandpa could hear, because he started laughing in the background. That was the first thing I'd heard from him in a while because he'd been unable to (or at least too uncomfortable to) talk on the phone, and it's the last thing I heard from him in this life. The next morning we got the message that my grandpa had passed away.

During the chili fest I nursed Sylvia in my grandparent's room, which was both comforting and very sad. There's still so very much of my grandpa in the room, and being in there made me feel close to him again; and yet he's gone and I yearned for more time with his physical presence. Mimi gave me a trilobite and a couple of arrowheads of his, which I'm really grateful to have. In a lot of ways I've come to terms with his death. I'm not angry anymore, just sad. Writing that essay the day I found out he'd died was very cathartic for me, and hearing all the good memories other people have of my grandpa has helped a lot. My family--my grandma, my dad, even my mom--have all told me over and over how beautiful that tribute was. In fact, they decided to use it as the obituary instead of a more traditional list of facts and statistics for his life and loved ones.

The bad thing is, every time someone brings it up, I can't talk. I want to say thank you, but more than that I want to hear what other people feel, and hear everyone else's remembrances of my grandpa. I want them to to tell me what they remember, and I should ask, but I usually end up just not talking because I know if I do I'll cry.

Alan told me Sarah said she thought after reading the line about the dent "left by a tow-headed child" that she and I were probably closest to Grandpa because she, too, had curled up with him on many occasions. The funny thing is, the more of my cousins I talk to, the more I hear a similar sentiment. I always felt like I was special with my grandpa, in part because of those times. When I wrote that line I thought about making it more specific to me--mentioning the Geology I've gone on to do--but it didn't sound right. Now, having talked to my cousins I realize the power of that line comes because all of us were tow-headed children cuddling with our grandpa, and all of us will cherish the memory of those times, and of the love we felt.

1 comment:

  1. I was a tow headed child who would curl up with grandpa watching Nature, or Nova, or an opera while eating Mr. Salty Pretzels. I remember that vividly.

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