Life Experiences Are Crazy
Emotions are the strongest forces on Earth. It’s what can lead us to war, peace, anger, cheer, love, and hate. This is what I learned when I first heard my Dad cry for the first time in my life. I didn’t see him cry, so no facial expressions, no puffy red eyes, no blowing of the noise, just the sound of him over the phone. The time this occurred was 3-4 years ago, April time I believe. My grandfather (my Dad’s Dad) came up to visit us, a two hour drive one he typically never makes because he hated to put miles on the car. He came and visited with us for an amount of time with my grandmother as well, but something was off – my grandfather just didn’t seem right.
My grandfather and grandmother left after their visit, but when they finally arrived home, the call from my grandmother confirmed the thoughts of uneasiness from the family. My grandfather was constantly swerving around the road and for first time in his life got in a minor accident with a person’s mailbox, something was clearly wrong. Eventually, my grandfather was committed to the hospital, and passed away in the next few days. My brother came into my room at night to tell the news of our grandfather passing, “Oh no…okay” I said. Maybe it was being woken up in the middle of the night why I didn’t react the way normal people do when their loved ones die, or maybe it was because I just don’t know how to handle death all that well. Maybe it was ultimately because I knew that at certain points in my life the ones that I love would die; ash-to-ash, dust-to-dust. I know it sounds morbid, but sometimes at a funeral, someone might need to see someone not terribly upset to know everything will be okay.
Although I wasn’t terribly upset initially when I heard the news, it was when my Dad called me up to talk to me about the funeral and the fact I would be a pallbearer in my grandfather’s funeral. His voice sounded normal, I thought to myself that he was taking this very well. The last sentence he uttered to me over the funeral details is what got to him – and me, “Yeah so you’ll be a pallbearer and you’ll take grandpa….to his grave”. The way it was said is engraved in my head; I’ve never heard someone change their emotional tone as fast as my father did that day. I don’t know what it is about hearing someone cry for the very first time in your life. Especially when that person is your father, who has never cried, but it was enough to hang-up the phone, run to my room, and cry on my bed in the dark while no one was home for about an hour – I never told anyone about this.
Flash forward and there I was at the funeral: stoic and unemotional. I glanced over at the pictures of my grandfather from his life when an elderly woman came up to me and asked me if I always smiled in photos, an odd question to ask a stranger at a funeral but I engaged, “Yeah…all the time actually”, good was all she said to me. I never really understood it until now, but when you and I leave Earth what’s going to be shown at our funerals? Pictures of us, smiling, showing the world that even though we are gone, the happiness we endured never faded.