“There are moments that the words don’t reach.
There is suffering too terrible to name.” -Lin Manuel Miranda
As a writer and a musician it is rare that there is a point in my life when words fail me. Saturday was one of those rarities.
My grandfather passed away Saturday morning.
Saturday was spent reflecting and thinking. I replayed memories over and over in my head, some have taken root there now. During my reflection I re-read a blog post from last March.
I had called my Opa (Grandad in German) for his birthday. For the first time since I remember we talked like a normal grandfather and granddaughter. It was fine until he asked me what grade I was in. The fact that he didn’t know made me sad.
“… I want my Opa to know what grade I’m in. I want to have seen him and talked to him. I want memories.
I don’t want regrets like the regrets I had when he was in the hospital. I went to see him. I went to hold his hand to say goodbye and he wouldn’t let go, he wouldn’t let me leave. I don’t want the regrets I had standing in the hospital bathroom tears streaming down my face praying to God that he would be fine. I don’t want the regrets I had hoping my dad wouldn’t notice my red eyes and water-logged face.
I want these things because I love my Opa.”
About a month ago my Opa moved in with my family.
I was given the chance to have memories with him. I was given the chance to know him and to let him into my life. He knew what grade I was in, he knew I wanted to be a forensic scientist, he knew what play I was doing. He knew me.
And for the first time, I knew him.
I wasn’t close with my Opa, but I knew him. I got the chance to make memories. I got to tell him I loved him on a regular basis. I realize now, that’s more than I could have ever asked for.
Words fall short to convey how happy I am that I got a relationship with him before he passed. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t know all my darkest secrets because he knew we both liked to read. I shared books with him. That’s all I could have ever asked for.
I know it’s silly, but in grief I find quotes. Another that plays through my head is “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love.” — J.K Rowling.
My grandfather is in a better place. In his last few weeks my family was able to give him a home filled with love.
I hold my family close in this moment.
We’re learning to live with the unimaginable.