The strangest thing to me about seeing my dead grandfather wasn't the fact that he was dead. It was the fact that he didn't really resemble the man that I knew growing up. I still don't believe it was really the same man. I know this is some kind of coping mechanism, a morbid, dark coping mechanism, but that's who I am. It helps me remember him for who he was. I was only here 3 months ago, and he seemed in good spirits, talkative, still agile in the mind. To see that lifeless body, it just wasn't him, you know?
In another life, my grandfather would have been a king, and not just any king, but the king that you hear about in fairy-tales. He was just, noble, kind, and caring. He was the type of king that would throw a feast for his entire kingdom, if he could, and that's what he did. He was the patriarch of our family, and with him gone, it leaves an enormous void, one that I can only hope to fill a little bit.
One of the hardest parts so far is the time of year that this all happened in. Christmas time. My mother, the sweet woman she is, has all of the Christmas decorations laid about. The tree has presents underneath it, the door has a sticker snowman on it. My mom certainly earns the nickname "Christmas Elf". It's unfortunate that this makes it all the more bittersweet. It's hard to see so much "cheer" when there is none to be had.
Relics of him lie around still, I don't envy my mother's future work at all. I can't imagine going through all this stuff and trying to decide what to sell. I'd have a hard time choosing what to throw away, what to sell, what to keep, all of it. I'd want to keep everything. He had a thing for lions, he was a Leo. He wasn't really ever into Astrology, but he liked the idea of himself being a lion, and he certainly was one. I'd probably keep everything lion related. The pictures, oh the pictures, they get harder to look at every time. Part of me wants to call his cellphone, just to hear his answering machine. To once more hear the voice that used to tell me, "Well, Hello 'Riah!" when I walked in the door. The voice that once told me that he loved me no matter what, whether I went back to college or did something else. I'm going to have trouble listening to old crooner tunes from now on, that's all he listened to.
The man raised 3 daughters to all be amazing, productive members of society. Each of whom all have their own children now, all of which turned out to be stand up people. I have no doubt in my mind that he played an instrumental part in this, mainly because when my father wasn't there, he helped raise me and my sister. I used to come over to his apartment when I was feeling down, and he would cheer me up, give me Zingers (twinkies), dispense some of his infinite wisdom, then send me truckin on home. He was truly a saint.
So now, here I am, spending the night in the room where he was last alive. Alone, as per my wishes. Not for some nostalgic factor or anything like that, but to spare my mother and her sisters from having to be down here. They're all dead tired and drained. I don't think any of them really feel anything right now. I have my heaviest armor on myself right now. It feels like my throat is going to tear itself out of my neck and run down the street screaming bloody murder.
I think I'm going to have to end this blog tonight, this is pretty much all I can muster for the evening. I have to get up tommorrow, get a suit, and go to the funeral home to finalize arrangements. My grandfather never really was one for flashy affairs, and he had everything pretty much set in place, so, all we really have to do is carry out his final wishes.
If there is a heaven Granddad, I hope you're dancing. 12/18/10