Thursday, September 11, 2008

Amazing Grace

It is finished. My grandfather died. It doesn’t quite seem real. Everything feels like it’s in black and white. Days feel like weeks because everything is in slow motion. I feel quiet. My heart feels like it’s inside of a fist, my fist, and it’s squeezing tightly to hold all the pieces together, to keep from falling apart.

I had been wondering for a couple months now about how I would feel, what I would do. I feel a little bit like a different person. But more like a different version of myself. This is a part of life I had never known before, and now I do, I know it. I feel almost like part of a club, a group with members who have scars, and I now understand where the scars came from and how it felt as they grew in.

I’ve been watching movies about death lately. Not sad, morbid movies, but movies that show how we deal with death. I don’t know how I’ll deal with it over the next few months. I don’t know what I’ll feel or what I’ll want to do or who I’ll want to talk to. But these movies somehow make me feel like it’ll eventually be alright, that it won’t be the end of everything.

A few months ago, when he went into the hospital suddenly, I craved Little Miss Sunshine. I love that movie and just had to watch it. It’s one of my favorites. Hysterically funny, but so true and poignant too. About a crazy family trying to stay together and get through the ugly mess and hurt of life. Grandpa dies, and they miss him, and he was loved, but life goes on. They pull together and make it. It’s such an honest, real film full of heart.

And I’ve watched Elizabethtown three times in the past few months. Live life to the fullest. Shrug off the disappointments and cling to what’s good, cherish it and soak it all in because the love is all that matters. Smile. And laugh. And never give up. His dad dies, and he sees life for the first time and opens up to all that it is. That movie always makes me feel full of hope, and I laugh, and I believe. And it’s also about a crazy family sticking together, with lots of love.

A month ago, I watched Catch and Release again. Her fiancé dies, and she learns he’d been cheating on her for years. She has a great line in the movie that says she had to lose him to know who he really is and that it changed who she is. That’s probably what always happens when someone we love dies – it changes us. That’s what I feel like is happening to me. I know it has already changed me, and there is more change coming yet.

The weather has not been good lately, and I know it’s all the hurricanes, but I can’t help but feel something larger at work. When PaMa died a month ago, I listened to a song, “It Don’t Matter to the Sun,” when I was driving home for the funeral.

It don't matter to the sun
If you go or if you stay
No, the sun is gonna rise, gonna rise
Shine down on another day
There will be a tomorrow
Even if you choose to leave
'Cause it don't matter to the sun no, no
It matters to me

It rained the day he died, and it was cloudy and gloomy and grey, and I couldn’t help but think it did matter to the sun. The world was sad he was no longer a part of it. That makes sense to me. He knew everyone, was important and renowned in his community, was the head of our family. He was such a force on this earth, his spirit so big and so strong, that surely the earth feels his absence and is mourning with the rest of us.

This evening, the weather was strange. One of those times when half the sky is as black as it’s ever been, but right next to it is the bluest of blue skies and the whitest, purest clouds. Weather like that always makes me tilt my head with confusion, but tonight, I understood that as how I have felt these last few days. Black, dark clouds side by side a pure, clear sky.


*M* said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. My Grandmother has been pushing through to the other side for quite some time. I know that we will be devestated when we lose her.
I wish you strength and comfort in this time and for the future.

Rebecca Jo said...

I'm so sorry. When you loose a grandparent, you loose so much history too! They've been through so much & have so much experience at life. My heart goes out to you.

Little Sister Pixie said...

Sorry to hear about your grandfather. I never got to meet both my grandfathers.

Cherish all the memories and great times you had with him because those are the best kind to have.

mhjozwiak said...

I just found your blog yesterday, and I LOVE in (in caps)! Added you to my blogroll, lady!

I just lost my grandmother in July. She was my rock, my best friend, my driving force. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how much it hurts.

Keep writing! You have a gift!!

--The Dumbest Smart Girl You Know

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