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And So It Goes.

This is very difficult to write. I have started and stopped it about 100 times. 100 times for the 100 years that my grandfather so effectively lived. I took this photo only about ten years ago, with my then brand new camera. Not bad for 90 years, eh?

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I still get mad that John Lennon died. I was only a baby at the time but it irks me when brilliant minds get taken before their time. I feel that way about Martin Luther King Jr. too. And..and..so many people. What I didn’t realize until this week was that it also irks me when brilliant minds get taken during or even after their time.

My grandfather, my mother’s father, passed away on Monday morning. Before this I hadn’t lost a grandparent in about ten years. Incredibly lucky, I’ve been. My father’s parents who outlived him, died within one year of one another in 2001 and 2002. I admit it shattered my world pretty much into temporary oblivion. It just didn’t feel temporary at the time. I guess there are so many levels of pain in this world, based on the who, what, where, when and whys of the loss at hand. I lost my father just before my fourth birthday. In some ways, I was sheltered from a pain I couldn’t understand. In other ways, I was robbed of a father I never got to know as an adult, or as anything past a little kid.

I guess that was my first loss. For sure it was my first loss.

And when his mother, my grandmother passed away in 2001, that was my first adult loss. It was heinous. It was like living in a deep, dark hole. When we lost her, we essentially lost her husband as well. Although my grandfather outlived his wife by a year, he was so far gone with Alzheimer’s disease at that point that he was pretty much unrecognizable. And yet at his funeral I started to cry and I realized I might never stop. Just never. It was the scariest feeling ever for someone who is phobic of loss of control, such as myself. Heinous is not a word that does that experience justice. There are no words.

In the past ten years, I have experienced great joys and sorrows – love, friendship, marriage, children, money, career, location, etc. I have had some extremely rough times and some extremely ecstatic times. I have often wondered what it would be like to lose a grandparent again. My surviving grandparents have been holding steady all this time – I’m not going to say I took it for granted because their mortality was always on my mind. It’s just that…they were so strong and so not going anywhere for so long. I knew this would happen eventually and still I’m more flabbergasted than ever before.

It sometimes felt like they’d outlive even me.

It brings to mind my favorite Dumbledore quote from Harry Potter: “Do not pity the dead, Harry, pity the living.” I don’t know if other people do this. I’ve only ever been me. It’s easy for me to feel sad for people that have passed away, and really, we survivors are the ones to feel sad for. Our passed loves ones have found peace, in really whatever way you believe about what happens after we pass. My grandfather lived 100 years and achieved many artistic goals – galleries, shows, write-ups, etc. And even achieved some unexpected goals – being contacted by Rosie O’Donnell and then featured on Martha Stewart for his art! And a fan of neither of those women for various personal reasons, I am still so proud to boast about it.

Did I mention he was married for like..70 years? Once when we were leaving their house in Florida for the airport, I turned around in the car and looked out the window and caught them holding hands as they walked back inside.

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I didn’t make the connection right away that my grandfather died the same day my father died. July 2nd. And both were Mondays. And really, who likes Mondays? As my mom says, “Your father dying was a tragedy. My father dying is..sad.” That’s what it is. My father – Dying at 36 and leaving behind two young girls..tragic. My mom’s father – Dying at 100 and leaving behind a legacy of love and art..sad.

And that’s exactly what it is. Sad. And I’m so sad I can barely bear it. I can’t speak of it. I can barely write about it, unless you call this mish mosh of thoughts actual writing.

We got to take a baby home last week. This week we had to say goodbye to a loved one. One has been on this earth for less than three weeks. And one for 100 years. Joy and pain. And the awkward generations in between these two extremes..

Just trying to make sense of it all.

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(I’m freakin’ adorable above)

There are so many levels to my exhaustion, that I can’t even believe it. I had stresses before the baby. Then the baby came before I could properly honor the loss of being a parent to just Scarlet. Then there was the physical post-birth stuff. Then the emotional trauma of having Des in the hospital. Then we lost a close, close family friend last week. Then..this. My grandfather. Oh, and I have a sinus infection. Oh, and I have a baby who like all other babies needs to eat several times overnight. Exhausted is not the word. I’ll break it down piece by piece, I hope, and honor and confront each and every pain.

With time.

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6 Comments

  1. very beautiful very lucky woman to have such a wonderful grandfather and such a lucky man to have such wonderful grand daughters and family who loved him so much i wish you the best

  2. I thought that was Scarlet at first!!! It seems to be the season for losing grandparents. I don't know what's going on but Ive been to more funerals in the past 3 months than I have in the past ten years. May his memory be a blessing.

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