My grandpa died two years ago yesterday.
In two days, it will have been one year since we found out about Henry.
I find the timing so interesting for some reason.
My grandpa and grandma played a big part in raising my brother and me. There were times we called them "Dad and Mom." A lot of who I am was shaped by my grandparents.
When my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, I can't say that I was too surprised. He had been losing weight and having pains for a while. He'd also been losing his memory and had beed diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I'll never forget teasing him about his memory loss (we could do that, he knew he was losing it and would make fun of himself) and telling him that I had to do something while he still remembered who I was. He looked me straight in the eye and told me that he would never forget who I was. And you know, he didn't.
I'm an organizer by nature. When my grandfather got it in his head that he HAD to have his office upstairs rearranged and organized, my mom tried to do it with him. That didn't last for very long. I went upstairs with him and let him direct me--- "Move that filing box there. Move those papers here. I want that. Marji needs that." For two hours I moved things with him and really, I still don't know why. Nothing was really changed when we were finished. But that was 2 hours that I got to spend with him. And I got to pretend to organize him. :) There really was no organizing Gpa. You'd think a military man would be more disciplined... but Gpa was a pack rat. And a junk food rat. It wasn't unusual to see a pile of papers beside the bed and a box of Crunch N Munch right beside it.
It took Grandpa eight weeks to die from the time that he was originally diagnosed with cancer. They live 7 hours away from me, so I went to their house every other weekend during that time. My mother had moved in with them to help take care of Gpa, and sometimes she just needed a full night's sleep. So I would try to give that to her.
I was certain that I would find out that I was pregnant right after Gpa's funeral. I just KNEW I would have a baby to name after him, a baby to carry on his spirit. At this point, my marriage wasn't so bad, having a baby would have been a good thing.
But I wasn't pregnant. And depression hit hard when Gpa died. I knew all the platitudes, but it didn't stop me from being angry that my children wouldn't get to know this wonderful man whom I loved so much. I have a tendency to shut down when I can't handle emotions. So that's what I did. I shut down emotionally. And that was the beginning of the roughest times for my marriage.
When I found out about Henry--- his incompatibility with life--- all I could do was scream at God --- "This was supposed to be a happy memory to offset my Gpa's death!" I was so angry. So very angry. Angry doesn't really even begin to describe the emotion. Blind rage.
But you've read the story of how I got past that anger and rage.
And here we are, that time of year again. I find that I'm a bit melancholy. But not angry. Not even sad, per se. I ache inside and I pull out Henry's hand and feet prints. I cuddle the blanket he was wrapped in. I look at the funeral notice with the picture of my grandpa that stays on my dresser. And strangely, I take comfort in those things. I did have a baby to name after my Gpa. My Gpa's name was Henry and my baby boy was Henry. It doesn't matter that I didn't get to see him grow, or that he was stillborn. He was still my boy and he is named after one of the best men I've ever known. And there's comfort in that, somehow. There's comfort in knowing that they're together, in Heaven, and my Gpa can play with his namesake in a way that he wouldn't have been able to play here on earth. That's my comfort.
I'm making it. I'm breathing. Grief is with us for a long time. But when we embrace it, roll with it, instead of fighting it, it heals so much faster.