Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why This Picture is Important to Me: Granddad

Everything we know, everything we have, will one day be gone. Maybe before we are, maybe after. However, there are chances of us outliving things. For example, you are likely to outlive any pets or phone you currently have. The world around us is constantly changing, and as we get older we see more and more of what we knew change. In these situations, I believe a picture is worth a thousand words. 

And so, I have attempted to write 1000 words about why the picture to the left is important to me.

I don't remember how old I was, old enough to lift the jug full of water, take charge of a situation. 10, I think. It was just mum, my sister and I at home. The car that pulled down the driveway was not my dads, and we all peeked through the curtain to catch a glimpse in the fading light. Was it winter? Getting there, anyway. 

The distinctive marking's of a cop car registered, and my mind started flipping through everything mum and dad had done, nothing against the law registered. A ridiculous idea in hindsight. I didn't know cops did anything else. My mothers face tightened, I remember looking up and being scared of what I saw. 

See, it turns out cops also notify you of a relatives death. The hysteria, the making of the hot chocolate, finding the old marshmallows, their stiff feeling, my mother pushing the cup away, crying on the edge of the bathtub, the officer telling me to back away. The terror, the pure terror of realizing nothing, no one, ever lives forever. 

Then the packing, packing for my sister and I, not knowing if she knew what was going on, trying to think of everything to go in our bag so my mother didn't have to. My dad, home, comforting her. The drive, through the dark, 2 hours long, going through a roundabout that we still go around now when we visit my Nana and Poppa. Staring at that roundabout, wondering if an accident has ever happened here. 

The panic, overwhelming panic of adults arriving, people we might remember? Being babysat. The smell in the funeral home, staring death in the face for the first time and forcing myself not to cry. Backing away. More people, funny tasting meals. Awkward moments of re-meeting the kids who you once played so easily with. 

My Uncle, I remember running to see if he was coming. His distinctive red hair, running back to tell mum. Being shy. How you could see we are related. He gave me my clarinet, and I still have it. I haven't seen him since those weeks. He went back to England. 

Now I hesitate when crossing the road, look carefully. I still wonder sometimes, what if I had done something different? The last time I saw Him was as He drove away, and I waved from the step. What if I had given Him another hug, what if I had said something, anything to delay time. Anything at all. Maybe he would still be here. 

Even though it might sound dumb, I still feel a pain when I think of might have been. Not as much as I think my mother feels. And the terror of death stays with me always, because one day I am going to lose my own parents, my remaining Grandparents, and I don't know how I will cope. I find myself asking why. 

Death is a harsh thing. Death takes what it wants. It forces a child to grow up, face reality. It forces grown ups to their knee's. Death can crack even the strongest person open. I catch myself being jealous of my peers who haven't been to a funeral. Death has struck my family twice now, and I remember every damn moment.  Two entire lives gone, just like that. 

It allows me to have moments, my mind snags on the corner, and I grasp the horror of war, of what is happening in on earth. Lives are destroyed, tiny world's within our world suddenly ending. 

I think the picture is important to me because I am still a child, there is no hint of what is to come. He looks tired, but real, like you want a family member to be. There are other pictures, but I can still feel those fairy wings on my fingers. I still remember the sound of his voice, but it doesn't say words anymore and one day I know it will be gone.

It's weird and not always healthy, how you have distinct memories of some events, like they just happened.   

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Opal is thinking about turning this into something she does once or twice a month. Yes? No? 

16 comments:

  1. It's funny; I think like that, too. If I probably had done this this would or wouldn't have happened. It doesn't just relate to death to, but to life. I've lost my grandfather before, too, but I couldn't go to the funeral, being on the other side of the planet and there being school. It sucks. You should definitely do this once or twice a month.

    xoxo Morning

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    1. It certainly relates to life in general :) Wow, that must have been hard :/ Even when you don't see a relative very often, they are still your family, and it hurts to lose them.

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  2. Oh, how sad. I'm really sorry for your loss—death is always hard, but it's the most difficult when it happens unexpectedly. It's something that clings to you forever, and it can be really scary. It happens to all of us, but it's never fun to watch it happen. This is a very powerful piece, Opal! I'd definitely be willing to read more.

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    1. It is, the first time is the worst I think. Thank you :)

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  3. Opal, I don't say this lightly- you made me feel. you made me understand just a smidgen of your pain, and for that I thank you. I can't pretend to understand what it's like to lose someone close to you, and you've opened my eyes to the devastation that I can only imagine.
    I echo Heather- I would love to read more like this.

    Chloe | Curious Ramblings

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  4. YES! This was so heart felt and beautiful, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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  5. This was beautiful. I feel really sad that I never knew either of my grandfathers. I think for loving your grandfather fully there was nothing else you can do. My grand mother has been staying, so I know the joy and sorrow of living with someone like that. I would love to read some more of these
    -Shanti @ http://weavingwaveswords.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you. That must be sad when you start to think about it- to miss out on both your Grandfathers is terrible.

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  6. Thanks for sharing - it was beautiful. Only one family member has died in my lifetime, my grandfather, but I was so young that I only have one memory of him, sick with Alzheimer's. I wish I had more. Again, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you :) That must be a hard memory to have, but special as well.

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  7. Wow. I agree with Chloe. This struck a cord in my heart. I remember when I lost my Grandpa. He lived overseas, and we had gone to visit him and all the other relatives. A week after we returned, a 6:30 A.M. call shattered everything. I don't remember much, except everything was dark and swirling. And tears. He was my favorite grandparent, and the fact that he wasn't here on this earth anymore was so saddening. You're right. Death has a way of breaking people. It has a way of making people think of more than what they're next meal is going to be. About life and it's fragility.
    Beautiful post, Opal <3

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    1. Thank you :)
      It is super hard, especially if you have fresh memories, and it is sudden. Death teaches us a lot, even if it is a hard reality to come to grips with.

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  8. I'm sorry for your granddad. I can't even comprehend a loss like that. Your writing was beautiful, raw and genuine, and I loved reading this. I'd love to read more posts like this, it would be a good idea. :)

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