When Life takes a U-Turn

As great as life has been, as much as it had been tending towards “peaceful” and “normal,” all of that changed last week.  My grandfather, who had been recovering from a stroke, passed away last Tuesday.  He was a wonderful man who had made it through 90 years with no bad health of any consequence.  And yet within one month of his stroke, he was gone.  I was lucky enough to go see him twice in that month, most recently the weekend before he died.  He was such a special person in my life; because I grew up with a single mom, he was the closest thing in my life to a father.

It may be confusing to some people, but when I talk about his widow, I don’t actually mean my maternal grandmother.  My grandmother passed away in the spring of 2009, and my grandfather was remarried later that year to his also-widowed former next-door-neighbor.  I’ve also known her all my life, so it was a very natural thing for me when they were married.  I love her like a second grandmother.  (Don’t forget, most people do have two sets, but because I never met my father and his family, I grew up with just one.)

So this weekend, I was back in my hometown for his memorial service.  He was cremated and his remains stored in First Presbyterian’s memorial wall.  Because he was so near and dear to me, and because I had the presence of mind to offer (unlike when my mom died and I was completely beside myself), I said a few words at his service.  Nearly everyone who stopped by after to greet the family told me I paid him a nice tribute.  Thankfully I held it together enough to be understood, but there sure were a LOT of tears and sobs.

I know life will get back to normal again, but this sure has been a tough couple of years.  Since 2009, I have not-so-gradually transitioned from a naive college student, completely surrounded by a blanket of familial love and support, to a wary young adult living completely independently.  I know all people die, and thus all people eventually lose their loved ones, but it seems unfair that this happened to me so soon, and all at once.  At least I am lucky to have my new grandmother and her two daughters as my family, but because I have only known them well over the past two years, it will be a slightly different relationship.  They really are in-laws, just family that hasn’t known you your whole life.

Anyway, that explains the silence over the past week, and the fact that I am more somber than usual.  Also, Saturday was the one year anniversary of my mom’s death, so it really all came down on me at once.  But I am picking up and going back to classes and my normal routine as much as I can.

PS: This is apparently my 90th post on the blog.  My grandfather was 90 when he died.  I did not plan this, but it’s kind of a nifty coincidence.

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