29 October 2008

a life coming to an end

it's been a very long time since i lost someone i love. my mamaw-daddy died when i was 11 (i think), and i still remember that pain. i mean, it's hard not to be crazy in love with a grandpa who never would've believed any person who tried to tell him i wasn't who hung the moon, and even though i was only a kid, there are times today i can go back to that loss, and feel as sad and confused as i did in the days following his death (which itself followed a very long and painful battle with lung cancer). the most beautiful and surprising thing about that loss - 23 years ago - is that it was the last for me.

i was at hallway boy's last night when i got the call from my mom that my other grandpa had been admitted to the hospital, and wouldn't be going home...

what i felt in that moment, in the hours that followed, and what i still feel today, is very much a mixed bag. on the one hand, we should all be so lucky to live a long, healthy, happy, fulfilled life as my pa has had. he's 87 years old, until very recently had been jovial and sprite since the day i met him, way back when i made my grand entrance, in november of some unnamed year in the 70's :). he was (and is) as proud of me as anyone ever has been, and i of him. he's a good man, my pa. and he's had a really good life.

on the other hand, his life is ending, and it breaks my heart. it hurts to know that in a matter of days or weeks, i will lose someone who has been one of my life's greatest driving forces. he's always been there for me, supportive of my endeavors, and probably my biggest fan. and he's going to be gone. i can't help but selfishly be sad for my own loss, as well as the loss my granny, my brothers and cousins, and my mom and her siblings will all soon feel. it is just sad. and it hurts.

last night when i got the news, i'm glad i wasn't alone. i'm glad hallway boy was there to comfort me, to encourage me to talk about my pa, to tell him stories about our trips to the donut shop, and that drawer full of molding donut holes i collected during his frequent visits to my hospital room after my car accident. but it was hard for me to be true to my emotions with hallway boy, because i'm trying so hard to keep me close to the vest. i mean, i tried so hard to be strong because i didn't want to cry in front of him. he knew it too, he saw me fighting back the tears, and finally told me to let go, "it's okay to cry". and i did and the floodgates opened. and he pet me while i cried, and comforted me, and told me it's okay to be sad.

the mixed bag here is that i'm not really sure i am ready to be so vulnerable with him. i mean, maybe it's time. we've been dating for a few months now, maybe it's time to start knocking a few of those cinder blocks to the ground. but i feel safer and my heart feels a bit more secure, when i keep a good distance between hallway boy and my emotions, when he doesn't see how much i feel (i.e. _everything_) and how much more of a role my feelings play in my decision making than things as silly as reason and sense. playing the tough girl helps me keep me closer to me, even if it isn't really me, and it scares the shit out of me to let him see the emotional volcano that lies below the surface of my "baller" exterior... or maybe it's just that he scares the shit out of me...

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