I got a call Sunday afternoon. My mom left a message and when I listened to it, well, it was the sound of death. Only I just knew it was my Grandma. She's been in bed for 4-5 years and my Grandpa has taken care of her. She's 96. He's 86.
I was surprised to learn that it was my Grandpa. He went out to the ranch with his son, got on his horse, threw a lasso around a calf... had a heart attack and died. People keep saying, "he got to pass doing what he loved." It's true, he did. I suppose that's consolation.
I've always had a hard time with death. Probably because not many people in my life actually die, which is odd considering what a large family I have. Death always seems to bring a new perspective to my life, but not in the "wow, we really must treasure the life we're given" sort of way. It doesn't really even draw in me the desire to be better, to strive for that eternal reward. I try to live that way each day.
Death has brought interesting views into my life, some almost disturbing. This time, it's an undeniable loneliness. I'll miss my grandpa. What a gem. He was a good ol' boy... the finest cowboy there was. I'll miss his sweet smile. I'll miss the stories. Oh my, was he ever a storyteller. But more than anything, I'll miss him saying "There's my Kelly Jae," each time he greeted me with that bear hug. I was always transposed into a little girl.
But the loneliness isn't because I'll miss my Grandpa. The perspective I'm left with today is a reminder of all the loss in my life - tiny to significant. I'm not one that deals well with loss, and this time I suppose it's no different.
I haven't cried much in the past two months. If you knew me, you'd realize what an odd statement that was. I'm a crier, even when I try my damnedest not to be. But I've been fairly tear-free for a while. Tonight, as my house was empty in a very rare moment, I took the opportunity to cleanse my soul. I stood in the hot shower for close to an hour, sobbing like I've never sobbed. The whimpering of a baby, the tears of childhood abandonment, the body-shaking sobs of lost love, the mournful weeping of lost life. The release was extraordinary. The release was excruciating. The release was necessary.
Perhaps now I will walk with a lighter load.