Today has been a tough day for me. It is peculiar to watch yourself react with deep emotion to something that hasn’t captured you in a long time. On January 17, 2008, I lost my grandfather to cancer. It was insidious and they caught it too late that coupled with his age there really wasn’t much they could do beyond some radiation to clot the bleeding when it got too bad. He found out about the cancer early summer and decided to let it take its course late summer.
There isn’t much in life that can compare with watching someone you love physically die a slow painful death. It draws from you so many polarizing emotions. You feel sorrow, compassion, anger, even pride in how they handle their passing. My Grandfather made me so proud of him. He handled his passing with courage, with love, with a sense of faith that did not waver. He knew where he was going and nothing, not even cancer was going to stop him from moving forward. As his body deteriorated, his heart and mind grew into something that healed me and my Mother. I can not explain it, but to say –he became the embodiment of love. It is something that I hold in my heart, which I strive to keep in my mind that I hope I can emulate when my time comes. He is with me and sometimes I can hear his voice in my mind. I can hear him saying he is proud of me for all I have accomplished despite a hard year. I can feel him giving me a hug right now, because writing this is bringing out a lot of emotion.
I guess it is hitting me now because last Christmas was so special to me. I loved my Grandfather more then I can articulate and this last year my love for him has only grown. This time last December, he wasn’t doing well at all. He was sleeping most of the day and not eating much of anything. Looking back, his body was preparing for death. We would fight to get him to eat. I would try and cook for him, making him things I knew he liked. I think now, he just ate it to make us happy. We got him Ensure to drink for the nutrients. My Mother was very concerned. She thought he was depressed over everything. She kept hope though, saying that he would make it about a year. I knew different. I knew it was going to be his last Christmas and that he wasn’t going to make it into spring. I had a dream about his passing and I woke with this deep set understand of when he would pass –something deep inside me told me to listen to it. My goal last year at this time was to make his Christmas something special. I got everyone to focus on him and make him happy.
It was amazing to see. He was like a new person on Christmas. He ate so much food and got his appetite back. He was so happy to see everyone and it was special because I knew this was it. When you know, you can’t get enough hugs, you can’t say I love you enough, you can’t burn their image into your mind forever, and you can’t feel the warmth of life on their skin long enough. It is so strange because as much as I know he is here, I still crave to see him and to give him a kiss on his cheek.
In the last months I would give him hair cuts. He loved them! He would tell everyone that I cut his hair. He was the gentlest man I knew. He might have not said it, but he loved his family with all his heart and soul. You felt it from him. He would always keep you abreast as to what everyone was doing and he spoke about it with pride. It didn’t matter if it was his grandchildren or the neighbor that lived next to him in New York; he spoke with respect and love.
I guess I am writing this because today it hit me just how much I miss him. Right after Christmas, he took a turn for the worse and never came back from it. The process of his passing, although hard, was blessed with the love we all had for him. The last words he said to my Mother and me were I love you. I know that in his passing he was met by a host of people on the other side ready to greet him. Although for us it was goodbye, for him it was welcome home. I am so glad to know he is somewhere where he can be of use because as I write this I feel his love and there is a comfort in that love. It is not going to be an easy Holiday for me. A lot has changed, but my heart is still in the game. I rather feel in love the pain of losing someone that I adore, then push it down and lose out on that love. With that said, today I feel the loss and remember the blessings that came in the form of George Landahl. He was a man of few words, but yet more love then I could even attempt to share in one blog. Merry Christmas.
Thank you for listening and letting me share my emotions with you.
Love you all,