My paternal grandmother died a few months before I was born. My paternal grandfather died in the Korean War before my dad was even born. The grandparents I grew up with on that side weren't related to me by blood, but usually I don't think much of that matters, especially in this case. Grandma and Grandpa always felt part of a pack of people who I would love no matter what. And they would do just the same for me, even if I spilled red Hawaiian Punch on their new boat upholstery and sang inappropriate themed Christmas carols over Christmas Eve dinner (actually, Grandma loved that and hopefully Grandpa didn't hear us!).
I felt sentimental learning how to cast-off my first scarf with Grandma. Like even when we both go someday, the gift of this day will be passed on because I will teach my kids and it will go on and on like that in some way.
On Monday we had a funeral for my Great Aunt Mac, my dad's aunt. Scott and I got to say goodbye to her the weekend before and she had said herself that she was ready to go and I guess that's the kind of thing that makes you cry less as the days go on, even if it doesn't on the day you touch the casket and say goodbye.
It wasn't all tears, though. One of the pallbearers almost fell into the grave which sent my sisters and I into that uncontrollable laughter only possible when you're not supposed to be laughing at all. But I think this is just a sign of Aunt Mac being with us, encouraging us that life is good and that it goes on.
Back at the hospital I admitted that I had such happy and sad memories from that room. Hospitals really scare me, but I was getting comfortable enough in that room to take my shoes off and eat pretzels. Reconciliations were made between family members in that room. We all brushed my grandpa's hair in that room, and I've never even touched his hair before. We cried a bunch in front of each other whenever we felt we needed to. We handed each other kleenex and water. We hugged Grandpa and made his blanket wet with our tears. We watched him take his last breath around 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday, then the sun set behind his favorite island as the oil derricks turned black against the orange horizon.
The next morning Dad, Danielle, Scott and I all had work at the same office. I borrowed a blue, lace dress from my mom and she gave me a fake pearl necklace and earrings to go with it. Since we were staying in Orange County until my Grandpa passed, the only other option I had to wear to work was my all black funeral dress and I was trying to avoid any questions about whether I was mourning or not. Instead, people kept asking me if I was going to an evening party. I joked with Danielle that I was going to eat hors d'oeuvres at my desk and she said I should start playing my Spotify music out loud and ask people if they wanted to dance.
Scott and I rode home only talking twice about which gas station to stop at and how I didn't believe in Keebler elves, but only fairies, watching the sun set at almost the exact time and in the exact same way that it had set the day before, right after Grandpa had passed. A sliver of a silver moon came out and we declared it a Grandpa Moon; the Poppy Moon happens when it's full.
And now here we are, still trying to feel everything and carry on.
|Grandpa's 85th birthday in March|