and he’s gone, but i don’t feel any different

And I don’t know if that makes me a bad person. I don’t think that it does, but I feel worse for the uncertainty.

My mom’s dad passed away this morning in the UK. I say my mom’s dad, because I hardly knew him. My mom found him after not seeing or hearing from him for 39 years, and in December 2003, he came out from the UK for an 8 week visit. I had just finished matric, and had gone straight into a temporary job, so apart from weekends, I never really had the time, or even took the time to get to know him better. But I don’t mind, because my mom and him spent almost every second of every minute of every hour of every day of those 8 weeks together. It was difficult from the very beginning for me to call him ‘Grandpa’ because I had never had a grandpa. My paternal grandfather passed away years before I was born and at almost 18 years old, I felt uncomfortable calling is ‘stranger’ such an intimate name. I mean I had my 2 step-grandfathers, but I had always called them by their first names. I have never, and now will never call a man ‘Grandpa’.

When my mom’s dad returned back to the UK in January/February 2004, it was sad that they didn’t get more time together, but they both promised to stay in touch, and that they would see each other again. Only 1 of those promises were kept. I’m so sorry mommy.

On the 18th of May this year, my mom phoned her dad to wish him a happy birthday. And that’s when she found out about his lung cancer. He hadn’t wanted to worry her unnecessarily, and so hadn’t told her about his diagnosis when he found out a few months earlier. He was only given another 5 or so months to live. Hey God, you cut it short by 2 months. Uncool man, really uncool.

I wish that I could cry with you and for you mom, but I can’t. I would be lying, and ultimately hurting you more than you are already hurting. My heart is aching and is broken, but that is because your heart is aching and broken. I want to grieve with you, but again, I would be untrue to myself and to you, as I don’t really know what I’m grieving. HOWEVER, you must grieve. You must cry. You must get angry. You must shout and scream and bellow and curl into a ball and cry some more.

Because I will be here mommy. I’ll be here to lift you back up, to hold you, to comfort you, to hand you tissues and feed you coffee. I will be here.

Every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, for the rest of our lives.



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