One thing is certain in life: death and taxes. Both are inescapable and completely stressful to those who endure them. I have always considered myself rather fortunate because in 26 years of life I have only lost 3 people that I considered to be extremely close to my heart: my cousin Detrain, my Uncle Mike, and my great-grandmother Mama Fanny. Other than that I have managed to skate through life in a seamless manner of unparalleled peace and happiness always knowing my family would be around whenever I wanted or needed them. All of a sudden, in my 26th year, the people I have known all my life are slipping away from me. First, my grandfather who I loved dearly dies shockingly fast and then my cousin's mother who I always felt was a lovely person dies from a horrible bout with cancer. Everything in my life seemed to make sense and now it doesn't. Or did it ever?
I've come to realize that intensity of death now that I have experienced my very first traumatic death. My grandfather was one of the greatest men I have ever known and probably ever will know and he is gone. I think about him more than I ever did before. The weekend of his funeral, I cried myself to sleep every night because I knew I would never see him again. This creepy sense of unease lingered over my unassuming body as I imagined him placing his keys in the door, opening it, and stomping heavily through the house to the kitchen to get himself a beer, take off his size 16 shoes, and relax from a long day at work.
I know I will never see him again, but his memory haunts me eternally. I can't get the sound of his pickup truck or keys out of my head. I can't stop imagining what it would be like to see him one last time to tell him all the things I never said like how much I admired his generosity or how I felt he was one of the most hard-working men and unselfish people on earth. I just want to hug him and thank him for always taking care of me and making sure I got all my needs and most of my wants. I want to say how sorry I am that his life was not more fulfilling based on his childhood and all the responsibilities he had as an adult and as a kid. But mostly I want to say, if no one else does, I forgive him.
I forgive him for all the things he didn't do and should've done. I forgive him for all the things he did wrong and for all the mistakes he made. No one is perfect, but I do firmly believe that everyone deserves all the chances God will grant them and I do not feel my grandfather is any different.
Everything seems so strange now. Going back to Louisiana just isn't as fun as it used to be. All the summers filled with long days of popsicles, bike riding, hours long church sessions, fried chicken dinners, and falling asleep talking my grandparents to death are slipping away and it scares me. I don't want to forget those memories that I love so dearly and I don't want to be haunted by them every time I go home either. I want them to remain forever. I want the feelings to remain cerebral in my thoughts and emotions, but I fear that it just won't end up that way. I guess that is something I must work on daily.
And I also must work on being more considerate of my elderly grandmother who is now a widow. Besides my father, her grandchildren are all she has. I love her so much and I would be crushed if anything happened. Even though she is being quite difficult during this painful process of healing, I know she is hurting and trying to be strong. It broke my heart to leave her in Louisiana and when I told I was going to move back there and stay with her she said, "Baby, I'm 75 years old, I've lived my life and I don't want to take away yours. Now, if you want to stay, you are always welcome, but I am not going anywhere. Death is a part of life and we are all just passing through. No one is staying. Once you realize that, you will be ok with death."
Her wisdom never cease to amaze me. We as humans truly are passing through and everyone must die. Though I don't like it, I must accept death somehow, someway. In order not to die in vain, I must focus on all the projects I am working on. I must continue to build my legacy and I must do everything I set out to do no matter how expensive, stressful, and difficult it may be. I know my Paw Paw would've wanted me to live a full life for me and for him. I surely will Pop, I surely will!