Check this shit out:
The last time I touched him, he was cold. Cold not like ice, but cold in a way that terrified me. Cold in a way that told me the only man who ever loved me, who never let me down, was gone. It was an unbearable coldness; it could not be executed with a blanket. It was an arctic chill that permeated throughout the room, freezing everyone in its wake.
“Are you all right?” my dad asked me uselessly. He never saw me like this before. He never before saw his sturdy oldest child become unglued and based on the look on his face, he was nervous—I could not be reached. I was trapped inside my grief and numb shock. It was as though I was not me and this scene was a part of a nightmare. I am one of those able bodied souls who can handle just about anything—I can go through break ups without tears, computer problems with only a touch of profanity, and bad luck with just a pissed off sigh. Death is one aspect of life I cannot handle because it is permanent. Another boy will come around; another computer can be purchased; and bad luck comes in threes, so life will eventually go my way. Most people do not arise from the dead; once dead, always dead. Therefore, I cannot remember my response to my father’s question; I had never felt death before. I had experienced it, but I had never before felt its frigidness at the tips of my fingertips. It was more real than life itself.
Before I left the room, I stared at the stiff body before me and I remembered. I remembered how my grandfather patiently taught me how to tie my shoes and I remembered how he tirelessly pushed my sister and me on the swings in the backyard of my childhood home in Chippewa. I considered him my hero. I considered him to be tough. He had been in the Navy, after all. To my childlike mind, that made him strong.
He was, too. After he was in the car accident when I was in second grade—the one that sealed his fate, I visited him in the hospital with my grandmother and sister. He sat up, looked at us, and smiled. I knew he was going to be all right. He was my Buppy; Buppy was always going to pull through. That vision of his recoveries stayed in the back of my mind even after I got the call telling me to come home, he was dying. As he lay in the hospital bed, the childish part of me expected him to sit up in the bed, rip off the oxygen tank, and ask when dinner was.
“Are you going to be all right?” my dad asked me when we were in the truck, en route to Carlow. Although Buppy died at 3:00 pm, ten minutes before I was to leave for school, I felt it was a necessity to go back. There, I could perhaps think and maybe wake up from this nightmare.
“No, Daddy,” I answered honestly, causing the tears to flow again. I sobbed as my father drove on in the rain. Tears ran down my face and breathing was next to impossible. My father just remained silent.
Fourteen days later, I still cry when I am alone at night. I sob until I hyperventilate and have to run to Joe, the only person who seems to be able to talk sense to my blubbering. Call me if you need anything, he says. The truth is, the hole in my heart has not been filled. I walk downstairs in the morning, and I am not greeted with Buppy’s cheerful “good morning.” When I am eating breakfast, I do not hear his footsteps coming into the kitchen to keep me company. He is not there to greet everyone who enters the house. He is not here.
You never get over losing someone you love. You never get over the emptiness of not having either him or her there. It may get easier with time, but that person will never be erased entirely from you heart. I love him. I always will. We share the same blood, and that enabled me to get out of bed for the first days after his death. That enables me to carry on with my life. I didn’t need any of the things my mom saved for me; I share blood with the greatest man who ever lived. I got lucky. For that, I am thankful.
I don’t believe in marriage and I don’t believe I will ever completely content in a committed relationship, but if a man with any shred of my grandfather’s goodness came along, I would tame my restless spirit to be with him because men like Buppy are gems. One in a million, a dime a dozen, all those other clichés. He was a good man, a truly good man and I will never forget the way he loved me.