Looking back on it now, I had a good childhood. I always had food, clothes on my back, and a warm bed to sleep in. During those years of course, anything would have been better than what I had, but isn’t that often the case? My parents were right: one day I would understand.
Growing up, my dad was always overworked, stressed, and grumpy. He was, obviously, trying to provide for our family and trying to meet our needs, and the stress of that made him irritable. We didn’t get along well between my ages of 11-18, because we simply couldn’t relate. I wanted him to be nicer and calmer, and he wanted me to be less high strung and angry. In fairness, I was angry, at him, at my family, at a lot of things. It’s a time in my life I don’t regret, but can squarely look back on and say “Ah, if I had only known then…”
Teenage girls are beasts, believing that they’re saints and unfairly crucified. True damn story.
Now, at twenty six, I am more like my father every single day. I’m not as grumpy as I preceived him to be, but I can see a lot of him in myself. I’m conservative with my money, I’m reserved in large group settings, I don’t like my music loud when I’m driving in city streets, and I definitely stand up for myself. I can see his work ethic in myself as well, something I appreciate more all the time. I never really knew my dad until I got older and moved across the country, and knowing him now makes me feel very loved and content. We are still very different people, but it’s nice to know that I retained something while growing up.
My Grandpa died last week. It’s still strange to know that he won’t be around next year, and I’m not sure how to address my Christmas card in December. I didn’t allow myself to cry this weekend, with my entire family around, at the funeral, or at the cemetery. I held it together, because I cope better that way, but it became tough in some spots. Watching my Grandma say goodbye at the cemetery, that was the hardest part, because it really hit me how much stronger her loss was. Hearing the details of the last few weeks reminded me of how strong my Grandpa was, and how much he loved our family. For me, this was a weekend to remember what is the most important. My family. How very mine they are.
This is only the beginning. The years that follow are going to be the years I have to say goodbye to people I love, who have known me my entire life. It’s not going to get easier, and while it’s morbid to think about, I feel some calm from knowing that this is what life is about. Saying goodbye, saying hello, saying I love you. Nothing else seems as important anymore. Not Dave Matthews, not politics, not any of the million stupid little dramas I can place myself in on any given day. Nothing seems to matter as much as loving the people that love me back.
A downpour just started outside, and I’m not sure how to end this anymore.
My throat hurts today.