It’s September 28th, 2017.
Facebook told me at 4:02 this afternoon I was tagged in a photo.
It was a collage of pictures of my Grandpa.
One was recent. One looked to be about a decade old.
And one held a Grandpa I hardly recognized.
He looked dapper. He looked fit.
He’d aged a bit between then and the time of my first recollection of him.
I knew what the photos meant before I read the words, but refused to accept until my eyes processed them.
He was gone.
The walk to the parking garage was a blur. The ride home felt like I was in a daze. We know days like these are coming. But we’re never ready for them when they arrive.
He was bigger than life, of course.
A loving, dedicated father, husband, and Vietnam veteran.
I never was willing to spend the time with him that I should’ve. I’ve always been too caught up in my own life and I took his presence on this earth for granted.
It felt like he’d always be there, ready for me whenever I should decide it was convenient for me. How selfish of me. How ignorant.
I let him down. I was not the grandson he deserved. This is my burden.
My heart doesn’t hurt so much for “my loss” as it does for those that have chosen Family over self throughout the last few decades, those that were truly close to him.
My Grandma, who put up with his shenanigans for 60+ years is going to sleep tonight for the first time knowing she’ll never again crawl into bed with him.
She’ll never again share a quiet cup of coffee with him in the brisk early morning hours.
I can’t imagine it. What do you do when your soulmate is taken from you? It’s cliche, I know, but my heart is truly broken for her right now.
My mother, his daughter, moved from Texas to Arizona 15 years ago (with me in tow) to be close to them as they got older. Aside from Grandma, she’s been the only other constant in his life for nearly two decades.
Words can’t describe the hurt she must feel.
There’s a million different facets of today that words can’t describe.
My heart is filled with pangs of sadness and regret.
My head is filled with happy memories.
And my perspective has been forever altered.
Love your loved ones. Life is truly short. Take nobody for granted.