This afternoon I learned that my grandpa passed away last Friday, and I don’t know how I feel about it.
How can you feel a sense of loss when that relationship ended abruptly when you were only 17 years old? As a teenager, I didn’t know what happened and I didn’t understand. As an adult, I have slivers of information but really no more understanding. I cannot understand.
Between the age of 17 and now, I saw my grandparents only once. I cannot recall the year, but I know that I had a young child, quite possibly even two young children by then, so sometime between 1994 and 1996. My husband and I attended a fundraiser banquet at a local church, and my grandparents were sitting at one of the tables. I remember the inner turmoil over what I should do, if I should do anything. I hadn’t seen them since 1989. They never responded to the wedding invitation that I sent them. They never responded to any of the cards or photos of my family that I had sent them. I am generally not a confrontational kind of person, and so the thought of walking over to their table to say hello was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. But I did it. I walked over and said hello. Then I had to pick my heart up off the floor when I had to introduce myself and wait for the light of comprehension to hit their faces. My grandma seemed to remember who I was, after I told her, but my grandpa never did seem all that interested in the brief conversation or me.
All of that feels like water under the bridge. Wounds heal but the scars remain. I can touch those scars now without feeling pain, but I do not know what to feel right now.