Friday, March 26, 2010

Life and Death

I have been meaning to write this blog for almost a week now. Last Saturday we received a very sad call from my family in Germany that my Grandfather had passed on. He hadn't been taking care of him very well for years (my Mom had actually asked him to his face recently whether he was trying to dig his own grave), but it still happened very unexpectedly to everyone.

Even though I haven't had a very good relationship with my Grandpa for years (due to reasons that do not need to be discussed here right now), I am devastated more than I had ever thought. I cried for a day, unable to properly take care of Lily (who got to watch an awful lot of Sesame Street that day), and talked to a number of friends. Telling and re-telling of what my family had related to me of the events on that Monday and Tuesday, along with being physically removed from the scene and trying to stay busy, helped me to pull myself together enough to make it through the following days. However, the regrets and what-ifs keep coming back, and not having been able to properly say good-bye to my Grandpa just hurts me to the core.

I remember when we've been together last about a year ago in Germany, and it makes me smile that he had the opportunity to meet his first great-granddaughter. At the same time, being 9 months pregnant with his third great-granddaughter, it just hurts beyond anything that he will never get to meet her, see her smile and hear her giggle. I remember hearing his voice on a voice mail a few weeks back, and now wish I had not erased it, so there would be just a tiny little thing left of him in our lives. I remember his last phone call only about 2 weeks prior to his death, and hate myself for not telling him that I loved him, since now I will never have the chance to tell him again. People keep telling me that he knew he was loved, but did he really? I can only hope, because even though I wasn't always sure of it, I now know that I loved him very much, and would give a lot just to have one last chance to tell him so, to take his hand and smile at him, to look into his blue eyes that both my sister and I inherited from him; maybe I will get the chance to tell him some day, who knows. My sister told me that he peacefully passed on with a smile on his face while she and Grandma were with him, holding his hand, touching his face and telling him of his great-granddaughters (he was uncoscious due to massive bleeding in his brain and never regained consciousness). I can only hope that he knows that deep within us, we all loved him very much.

This experience definitely has opened my eyes about the importance of life, and all the people we share it with. I myself are guilty of taking many people simply for granted, expecting them to always be there and therefore not acknowledge them the way they deserve. This was probably the best lesson my Grandpa ever taught me. I have made it a routine a long time ago to always kiss Richard and Lily good-bye when I leave and tell them that I love them. Commuting 50 miles every single day you never know what may happen, and I simply always want them to know how much they mean to me. But there are many more people in my life who I don't tell on a regular basis; I have now started to let those people know how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate them being in my life. If doing that I can brighten only one person's day, my mission is accomplished. However, that will never erase the guilt I feel of not having made my Grandpa feeling just as appreciated and loved every time I had the chance to.

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