Life has a way of lifting you to incredible heights, instilling you with a sense of immortality at times and yet it also has a cruel sense of humour. Once you reach those heights, it’s like life then says to its cronies, “watch this” before spiking you back down to earth like the flesh colour volley ball that you are.
My grandmother (Nana) died, passed away – what ever phrase suits your sensibilities best – Wednesday around midnight. It was a long five days of pacing the hospitals floors while whatever ate away at her spark of life took its time finishing its meal.
85, by todays standards is still too young. Then again, that may be a statement tinted by my own proximity to that age. I’m sure teenagers everywhere still see 85 as ancient, but then their view is tainted by the vast horizon of undiscovered life that lays ahead of them. I can’t see fault in that view either, as I once stood in their shoes. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier.
Suffice it to say she’s at peace now, at least I like to think that. I feel she lost her grip on continuing the journey when my grandfather passed away and that she has been waiting for this moment since then. I take comfort in the fact that, whether she was aware or not, her last few days were filled with the light banter of family as humour stood the ground as a defence to the grief.
Now I don’t know what there is beyond, nor do I suppose to imply my ideas on what may or may not be (my apologies to the devoutly religious. I envy your unwavering faith in what comes after). I do know that I curse the emerging writer in me from time to time as my creative energies have dampened like a campfire in a rainstorm. Instead my head is filled with tear wrenching imagery that at time comes across as self-centered. Yes I have written a bit here or there, but ultimately when I re-read these little snippets, I can’t help but feel how much it is about me as opposed to the gravity of the situation.
Now I’m no stranger to having written eulogies. I wrote my first for my grandfather and then followed way too quickly about my mom’s mother (grandma), and then my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. All of these were heartfelt and while they were easy enough to write, they were next to impossible to read aloud even for a ham as big as myself. This time, however, while the emotion is there, it remains unfocused.
My dad is not handling this well and I have stepped in to bear the burden of my family’s grief, it is my job as the eldest to be the voice of reason, the rock when in fact I don’t feel much like either. I have broad shoulders though, and will soldier on. My sister’s organizational skills make it easy, as does my brother’s wit.
Again I feel this is a self-serving post, but that is just the way I am. I have been instilled with a heathy dose of humility in my upbringing (though at times you wouldn’t know it). I constantly battle with self-doubt and insecurities that I hide behind humour and (at least I hope) charm. My mother keeps comparing me to my grandfather in that aspect, but I feel that while my sister is very much like my mother, and my brother like my father, I am a combination of both. Outspoken and firm in my beliefs like my mother and yet tempered with that second sight and level-head of my father. Either way I think we all turned out well and I am proud of my siblings; always have been.
So, thank-you, mom and dad. Thank-you Nana and Grandad and Gramma and Grampa for making me who I am.
I’m left with one question; why does it take loved ones passing on for us to realize the impact they have had on our lives. I suppose it is because we feel there is always time, always tomorrow, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.