It's taken me several weeks to write this post and I only write about it now in the hopes of getting some sort of handle on my emotions.
At the end of February, my grandpa passed away.
It wasn't a complete shock, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. He was 98 and his health had been declining the last couple of years, but he was still such a force of a man.
He played golf and ran on a treadmill, in cowboy boots, well into his 90's.
He was a ginger, even though his hair went white long before I was born.
One holiday, I think it was Easter, we were sitting next to each other on the couch at my parents' house. He turned to me and he said, "I'm so proud of all my granddaughters. They are all so smart. They will never need a man to take care of them." I don't know if I've ever felt more proud than I did in that moment.
When his sight and hearing started to go when I was a teenager, I was his unspoken guardian, making sure he didn't wander off too far or inadvertently buy himself another cowboy hat.
He had a tattoo on his right forearm. A lady's portrait in a rose. Growing up, I always thought it was my grandma. Turns out it was a Red Cross nurse he met when he was a teenager.
He was in the navy in WWII. As a sailor, he met my grandma while at port in Montevideo, Uruguay. She as thirteen years his junior. She took a boat 22 days to America to marry him. They were together almost 65 years.
My aunt came down Saturday to comfort my grandma. It didn't occur to me until I saw them together, but my aunt has been in her shoes since she lost her husband to cancer almost twenty years ago. She's trying to help my grandma get through this, but I don't think she ever will be able to. I come from strong stock, but it's not weak to be sad at times like this.
There are so many other little things I am going to miss about that man. Hanging in my hallway is one of the paintings my mom did of him. At first, I feared seeing it everyday was going to make the loss sting more, but it's actually been a comfort to me. Yes, it does make me sad, but at the same time, it keeps him in my heart and that makes me happy.
He didn't want a funeral. It's easier on my mom and my grandma this way, but I'm filled with all sorts of emotions I don't know what to do with. It's been a couple of weeks and it's getting easier, but I still need to find some way to have closure.