His life on one page …

My grandfather passed one day after the start of the New Year. I was blessed to be there with him in his final moment ( something I will carry with me forever). It was such a mind blowing and painful experience. He was sick on and off for many years, in and out of the hospital, one thing after another. I spite of this, I never actually believed he would die. This is not the first time I’ve experienced the death of a loved one but I tend to be an optimist about life. I know death exists but I prefer to not actually discuss it which is why writing this piece is irony. Nonetheless, his death has been stirring so many feelings inside of me that I never knew existed. This became clear after I took the responsiblity of writing his obituary. I learned so many things about my grandfather that I wasn’t entirely sure how to process . I found myself wanting to ask so many questions and then coming to the realization that he would no longer be around to provide the answers. This hurt. I sat with my mom one day after work and wrote out the entire obiturary with a few critiques. Fast Forward — — the day of the wake . So, I already was in a bad mood leading up to this day. Actually, I was feeling bitter and resentful. I wasn’t sure if it was because I never spent the time I should have with him or because I felt like things were being rushed, either way I was on “Bitch Mode”. So, the service starts and I am sitting in the back waiting for this to be over and my mom walks over to me and asks for me to read the obituary. I had to do a double take, like huh ?! In my head, “ I wrote it, why do I need to actually read it.” I would never tell my mother no so I obliged and went up to read. As soon as I reached the podium, I began to hyperventilate with tears. My mom walked up to rub my back which made me mad because I needed to be strong for her and I was a wreck. Yet, I read the obituary. I read each and every word, with pauses, breaks, and tears all the way through. It was the most emotional and therapeutic experience to date. As I read this paper, I realized that my grandfather was a man who loved his family and wasn’t afraid to live. His life on that one page, helped me realize that I have so much more living to do. In the years leading up to his death, I kept some distance from because I was angry about an incident from college. In my sophomore year, I called to ask for some money and he provided it with no problem. Not too long after, I called again and he gave it; However, this time he decided to call my mother and complain. This really pissed me off, considering that I was the only grandchild to go away to college, was working several jobs and never once asked for anything. I decided that he was no longer reliable and emotionally cut myself off from him. I refused to call him on his birthday and stopped visiting as often as I used to. I was hurt but my pride would not allow me to disclose it, plus I felt he favored the other grandchildren who lived closer than me. I say all of this to show that I knew he forgave me because he gave me a gift that day in reading his obituary. As I read, I realized that I need to live. Not just living in the anatomical sense but in the spiritual and emotional. In his life, he made sure to be happy wherever he was positioned offering up smiles to strangers and friends. He was socialable , friendly, and warm spirited. I find myself being too guarded to let these traits show freely. I think deep down inside my grandfather knew this about me and he just wanted me to live. It’s crazy how a piece of paper could do so much for me but I guess we all have to see our truth somehow ………

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