on september 13th, i had returned from a life changing ministry team trip. i was so excited about the year to come and was actually looking forward to being at school.
on september 14th, me and beth started planning for me to come surprise all the girls and come home that next weekend. i was gonna ‘teach’ sunday school, and tell everyone about the trip and csu and everything. it would be the first time i’d been home all semester. life was going great.
then on september 15th, i woke up. i was expecting a great day. me and ashleigh and some other ministry team people were going to union, sc to do the same thing we did last night. i got out of bed, had some good Jesus time, and then i was just about to go eat lunch(something i didn’t do often there), when the phone rang. it’s my mom. i start telling her all about how i was actually happy for once, and she interrupts with the words ‘i have to tell you something.’
these words would sound normal to anyone else. but to me, due to an agreement made months earlier when we knew this was coming, it was significant in the worst way possible. it meant that life as i knew it had ended. it meant my granddad was dead.(and since this ticks people off when i get it wrong, it was actually the 14th that he died, but i didn’t know until the 15th, so that’s the worst day for me.)
i didn’t eat. i didn’t go to class. i got back in my bed, and i stayed there until ashleigh came to see if i was all right and if i still wanted to come help.
starting the next morning, i had to go to each of my teachers and tell them i’d be missing their classes the next week. some were sympathetic, some acted like it was a huge inconvenience and my grade would be irreversibly damaged, some tried to get me to talk about it like it would help me. dr walker, being the wonderful person that she is, hugged me and let me cry for a few minutes before telling me that i wouldn’t miss anything special and she’d be praying.
from this point on in the semester, nothing mattered. the one person that made me feel loved, and special, and beautiful, the only person who was proud of me for every little thing i did and never compared me to my siblings, was gone.
the worst part is that once funeral week was over and i got back to school, no one cared, aside from ashleigh and my 2 brittany’s. no one had even noticed i had been gone for four days. when people on my hall would give their impersonal ‘hey how are you”s, and i’d say ‘i just got back this morning’, they would say ‘back? where’d you go?’ i of course was too angry to say i’d been at my life’s funeral. or i’d ask someone what i’d missed in class, and they hadn’t realized i hadn’t been in class. i felt so alone and uncared about. if you know me, you know how touchy-feely i am. can you imagine me living without hugs, especially at a time like this, for weeks at a time? yeah. it was bad. so all i had was all this pent-up, unexplainable pain, and no way to deal with it. so in a desperate search for a way to feel better, i stopped eating. even now, after i got smart and quit doing this, my reasoning back then still makes sense to me; even though being hungry didn’t feel that great or make the other pain go away, i was at least in control of it. i understood it. i knew the source of it, and i could choose to either make it go away or keep feeling it.(it’s like how when you stub your toe, if you pinch your lip really hard, your toe doesn’t hurt anymore, because your mind is focusing on the pain in your lip) and it helped. a little bit.
when i woke up this morning, i imagined what it would be like if this had waited a year, and happened today. i’d be surrounded with love and prayer and hugs 24/7. i never could have gotten away with not eating for 8 days(or even if i’d refused to leave my bed, people would be bringing me food and making sure i was okay). my walker b family would have taken care of me.
it’s been a year now. he’s still gone. i haven’t gotten used to it. i still say ‘grandma and granddad’s house’ in my head and have to correct myself; it’s just grandma’s. when we go visit her, as soon as we walk in the door i have to remind myself that i don’t get to hear him tell me how i’m still his prettiest granddaughter. i am nowhere near being over this.
but i must be making progress; i’m crying right now. for a long time, i couldn’t. (once i got out of charleston and was with my family, i went into shock and numbed myself to the situation)i wanted to so badly all during that first week, but somehow i couldn’t. at the funeral, everyone around me is reaching for the kleenex, like normal people, and all i could do was stare at the floor and pray to God that the world would stop spinning. crying feels good. i remember when i was little i read this poem about how every tear has a little bit of all the horrible feeling in it, and the very last tear you have left is full of joy, so that’s why people usually laugh when they’re done crying.
the hardest part for me is not knowing where he is. i was never sure what he believed. i never asked him about it. how could i have forgotten to have such an important conversation with someone i claimed to love so much? what if he’s burning in hell and i could have stopped it?
last week i posted the words to my favorite ever regina spektor song. being the deep thinker that i am,(ha. not.) i found that it’s basically talking about this terrible week of my life.
this is how it works, it feels a little worse(like it did when i went from charleston to virginia)
and when we drove our hearse right through that screaming crowd, while laughing up a storm(to make myself not feel so bad, i was trying to be funny like i usually do, and pointing out how awesome it was to have cop cars escorting us through the city[granddad got the soldier’s funeral deal]),
until we were just bone, until it got so warm that none of use could sleep(it was really hot that night, and i was too sad to sleep)
then all the styrofoam began to melt away, we tried to find some worms to aid in the decay
but none of them were home inside their catacombs
a million ancient bees began to sting our knees(ancient bees meaning bad things that you think have gone away, then they come back[aka stinging our knees] at the worst possible time)
while we were on our knees, praying that disease would leave the ones we love and never come again.(while everyone else slept, i laid awake almost all night, wanting all the horrible stuff to go away and asking God what it was there for.)
…this is how it works, you’re young until you’re not(then you die)
you try until you can’t(my attempts to go on with school, but due to all this and other things weighing on my mind, i gave up)
you love until you don’t, you laugh until you cry, you cry until you laugh, and everyone must breathe
until their dying breath.(take a guess.)
no this is how it works, you peer inside yourself, you take the things you like, and try to love the things you take(this would be me and God, in may, in the process of fixing my depressed, eating disorder inflicted self, and praying about ciu),
and then you take that love you made, and stick it into some,
someone else’s heart, pumping someone else’s blood,
then walking arm in arm, you pray it don’t get harmed,
and even if it does, you’ll just do it all again.
(i can’t think of a way the last few lines fit into my life, at least as far as my dealings with this event are concerned.)
the point of these ramblings: granddad i miss you and love you and hurt for you every day. and i pray you’re sitting with God right now, celebrating your heavenly birthday and talking to him about why he created black people and mexicans.