My Opa died this summer. At least, I think it was this summer… this whole year and a half+ has been difficult for me to separate into time periods beyond the bulk term “recently”.
Tomorrow is his wedding anniversary with my grandma, and my grandma’s 91st birthday. So, my mom and I are staying at their house tonight – despite the 78° thermostat in here, which is a big youch! – in preparation for a small gathering of family members tomorrow. This time, instead of celebrating with Thanksgiving, as we usually do with a two-day celebration, it is a whole week before our Thanksgiving gathering, and it is without my Opa.
And I don’t know how I feel about that.
I also don’t know how I feel about my having such uncertainty…
I think I stayed away more and more as he got close to dying, potentially out of self-preservation. It was hard to be with someone who was so close to death, who so soon would be gone permanently. But also who, more and more, was less himself, as though he was ever so slowly departing from this life, until just the final bit exhaled one early morning, and finished the departure.
Perhaps life is like that. Perhaps it is only a passing-through kind of deal, where we are born, and, from that moment, we begin slowly to depart, slowly to rise to our highest selves, returning to our core and our maker, returning to our home. And maybe some people are more in touch with that home than most, already with one foot in the door, so to speak. Perhaps they never fully left, or perhaps they quickly leaped back. And perhaps the ghosts we have walking these grounds are the ones who have lost their way, or who are just not yet ready to return home. Perhaps they are the ones who forgot that, like college, life is only a stepping stone, not a destination.
Obviously, I’m rambling off in an unexpected direction here. I’m still not ready to deal with Opa not being here in person with me anymore. He was already not really here for a while before he fully left. So, while it feels quite different, his not being in this house right now, I’m also accustomed to it, and even relieved by it, considering the struggles of his body shutting down over the final year or so of his life here.
Anyway… I want to love people the way I felt and sill feel loved by him. With him, I always felt worth it, and I always felt good enough. I always felt loved, just as I was. I want to do that for those in my life.
God, help me to do so, please.