This post (well any post for that matter) is well over due. It isn’t that I haven’t thought about writing. My pen is definitely my therapy….it has been for 30 years. I think I’ve been apprehensive to put thoughts to paper for fear that I wasn’t ready to release and inhale what I was feeling.
For the last few weeks I’ve been grieving the loss of my right hand man…my biggest supporter…my one man cheering section…the man who has set the bar so high for any man who will ever come in to my life…my grandpa. He passed away on March 30th and ever since that 6 am call I had been feeling as though my heart stopped beating also. Like I too had taken my last breath.
A week prior to his death I had received a call from my Mom inquiring when I’d be up to NY for a visit. In the 16 years that I’ve been away she has never once asked me that question. I knew something was wrong. I touched down two days later and was informed that my grandpa’s health was quickly declining. I hadn’t seen him since December and although a short time had lapsed I was not at all prepared for what I saw. There he was in that hospice bed unable to speak, swallow, or take a deep breath. The end was imminent.
Despite my mothers wishes I spent hours next to his side for the next five days. Talking to him, praying with him. All the while holding back the tears. My heart was hurting but I was comforted by the fact that he still knew who I was and mouthed my name often. In the rare moments that he could muster up the strength to actually speak he would call for his mother….and cry.
Each day became more and more overwhelming for me. Having only purchased a one way ticket I felt as though I was sitting there waiting for him to die. I couldn’t bear to be there to witness the inevitable…his death. On my last day I told him I loved him. I told him that it was OK for him to let go and I prayed that God would whisper in his ear. “Well Done My Faithful Servant….Well Done”.
Four days after I left his bedside, my mother called and simply said…..”He’s gone”.
Attending his service was one of the hardest things I’d ever done in my life. I’m going to be honest and say that I thought about not attending. Not only would this be the last day that I would lay eyes on my grandpa. I would also have to come face to face with my molester whom I hadn’t seen since before I embarked on this journey to define my “happy”. But this wasn’t about me. It was about paying my respect to my biggest fan. I went….I cried….I was numb.. Family and friends surrounded me and whispered in my ear, “You did right by him…he was so proud of you”. But feelings of comfort were overshadowed by the overwhelming feelings of loss and grief.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized that my grandpa was buried almost 1 year to the day of the celebration I held for him last year, The Legacy Gala. I thought back to the last prayer I said with him. And how I wanted God to whisper in his ear and let him know that he had done all he needed to do here on this earth and that it was ok for him to come on home. I knew my grandfathers tears weren’t a symbol of fear or pain….they were falling out of concern that we weren’t going to be ok when he passed on. The selfless act of a man to be on his death bed and still worried about someone else….his family.
If I’ve learned anything from my grandpa and his life and life’s work it is this…he lived the HELL out of the life that God gave him. He lived in his purpose and on purpose. He served others and served God. No matter how hard the task or how long it took he persevered through anything that was thrown his way. He wasn’t perfect…he didn’t always do or say the right things but he made up for it by making each day count. I now know that it is ok that he passed away. What else was there for him to do here on this earth? I’m sad that I won’t be able to hear his voice again or hear him laugh but I am glad that he is no longer suffering.
While in the midst of my grief and my many FULL days lying on the couch I thought about my journey last year. For eight months, a little brown girl set off on a random journey around the world…extra tiny backpack in tow…channeling her inner Dora the Explorer. I embraced every adventure, every obstacle, every machine gun pointed in my face, every setback, every pointed finger, every rude remark, every racial slur…and I was actually happy. I got back to the states in December and acted as if none of this had ever happened. Like it was all a dream. I stopped living. I stopped growing. I stopped smiling. I stopped dreaming. I stopped appreciating. I stopped participating. I just stopped.
I know my grandfather would not be happy with me at this moment. He’d want me to stand strong and put a smile on my face. He’d want me to shoot for the moon and work hard to make my dreams come true. He’d want me to know that I can do anything I put my mind to. He’d want me to surround myself with people who truly mean me well. He’d want me to be happy that he is in a better place. In his honor I’m going to do just that.
Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches in our situation just when we get a little too comfortable. I think it’s just a reminder for us to never ever take anything for granted and to be grateful for each and everything we have been blessed with. Even the bad things.
To those of you who are reading this with a heavy heart, let go….in peace.
To those of you who are dealing with loss, stay strong…in peace.
To those of you who have a dream but can’t figure out the “how”, have faith…in peace.
To those of you going through hard times and see no end in sight, trust God…in peace.
And to my wonderful grandpa who I love more than anything, MAY YOU REST….IN PEACE.