The hardest part of this journey is saying goodbye to those you love. My grandmother passed away Sunday, and my father-in-law passed away a year ago tomorrow. I hope it’s not a trend. I hope my blog about life’s journey is filled with more humor, more positivity because who wants to read about someone drone on about their sad life. I’d prefer to attune to the notion of celebrating a life rather than wallow in sorrow; however, it’s the sorrow that feels most natural to me. The hurt makes me feel alive and simultaneously guilty because they are not.
I wish I had wise words, but I don’t. I wish I had spent more time with my grandmother, but I didn’t. It’s cliché; I know, but you truly don’t appreciate those around you until they’re gone. Whether it was a lover or a friend or a family member, especially a child, it’s probably wise to often reflect on how profoundly lucky you are to have them spend their lives with you. People come and go, and it sucks. But if you gain something positive, just a little, from each of them, then it was likely not a waste of time. Even a negative relationship can, ultimately, have a positive consequence. If you learn.
The date for my grandmother’s service hasn’t been set; however, when it does I’ll do my best to write something meaningful about her life. I’m still grieving, mostly from the reaction of those around me and to the realization that someday I too will lose my “mommy.”
Last year I was fortunate. Through luck, and through the sheer will and compassion of those I deployed with, I made it home in time to comfort my wife as her father, Chris, passed away. Two days later, we had our daughter. It was a trying time, and, due to military obligations, I was unable to attend the service. But, I was asked to write a few words about my father-in-law. It’s hard to believe it has been a year.
The summation of your life in a few short paragraphs is wholly inadequate. Words are a poor substitute; you deserve a rock ballad. You’d laugh at a poem or mock scripture from a book you didn’t believe in, so the blunt words of a person who loved you seems most appropriate. Will you be waiting on the other side? Perhaps, or perhaps not, but what is undeniable is that your legacy will live on.
Whether it is through the curvature of your daughter’s nose, the olive color of her skin or the midnight in your granddaughter’s hair – your memory will persist. Though nothing will fill the void left by your absence, the memories you’ve given to all of us is enough to fill a lifetime. The memories weren’t always good; we are all flawed. To be human is to face adversity and learn from it. Your 24 years of marriage to Layla is a testament to your ability to persevere. She wanted more time with you; we all did.
I saw you go peacefully. To where, we may never know. But wherever it is, the music’s a little louder and a whole lot better.