Wednesday, March 07, 2007

...Followed by a Weird, Long Week

Funny now to think about my last post and the good, long day I had with the kids. That day will be 2 weeks ago tomorrow, and what an eon ago it feels like, now. The day after, I got one of those calls we all dread. When your mother calls before 7am in tears, you know to brace yourself, even in that half-second before she begins to speak. And so that's how I came to find out that my dear grandpa had passed away earlier that Friday morning. He was 88 and died at home, after a bad week, which was really more like another episode in a long, bad year of slow decline and increasing frailty and complications. "He was so tired," we all said, which was true, but that still stopped short of offering much in the way of comfort.

And so my good, long day was followed by a weird, long week that involved a few drives out to L.A. county and the home my grandparents shared for over forty years, for the better part of their nearly seventy years of married life. It also involved having to have the "death" conversation with Lily, who has never had to deal with anything like that before -- not even with a more simple lifeform, like a goldfish or hamster. (She had far fewer questions than I anticipated, even after the open-casket funeral.) It also involved me, getting up in front of all those I hold my dear, every single member of my immediate and not-so immediate family, and giving my grandfather's eulogy last Thursday morning at the memorial chapel in Rose Hills. My family kept calling it a "family memory" to make me feel a little less stressed about the duty I'd been charged with, but whatever you want to call it -- it was stressful. I was convinced I'd either have a panic attack or faint clear away, but I did neither . People said they liked it, that it was good. I hope so. All I know is that it was immensely draining and took a lot more brain power than I typically use these days to write. At least I've got this blog, so the writing gears up in my noggin hadn't completely rusted over from disuse.

In my eulogy/family tribute, I used Yosemite as something of a metaphor for what my grandfather was to me, and to my family -- an ever-present, seemingly permanent feature on the landscape of our lives. I said it better then, and I don't want to rehash it here, but you get the gist.

I'm glad my children got to know him, and even more glad that he got to know my children, whom he adored. I could say that life has returned to normal around here, but that's not entirely true, either. Perhaps for Myk and the children, but for me, there is still that loss. It surprises me daily, a missing tooth that stuns my tongue and jolts my routine, even for that second. Outwardly, life keeps trucking on, as it always does, and especially with two small children in the house. No time to reflect, no time to even mourn, somehow, it feels. Miss Thing is turning 5 on Saturday, so there's a party to plan and gifts and cake to buy, for a different and better kind of celebration of a life this coming weekend.

The picture above is of Yosemite's famous Half Dome, covered in April snow. It was taken the last time I visited Yosemite, during spring break from grad school, in 2001. What a long time ago that feels, yet it's barely a half a blink in the long, enduring lifespan of Yosemite valley. I can't wait to go back and introduce my children to this beautiful place, someday.



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