My biological father was a Heroine addict when I was born. He was inconsistent. The type of Dad that I sat and waited for on the porch - he never showed up. I had issues about him not being around. My mother helped me to get over those feelings. She said, "Some people cause more pain being in your life than out of it."
My grandfather never caused me pain until he left us last Fall. He was my Dad. He kept his promises. He took my cousins and I on trips and spanked my brother once in Arizona (truly out of his character!) for not listening.
He never missed a graduation or anything for that matter. He had no problem with letting the world know that his family was first. That kind of love was inspiring to witness first hand. I always wanted to love someone with that level of magnitude and loyalty. I'm trying my best.
A giving man he was, not just with material things but with words of wisdom. He gave me kind words when I commenced my path of entrepreneurship. He was always a phone call away for anything that I needed.
He battled with Dementia for three years and with the help of my grandmother and my husband, we took good care of him. I would be a liar if I told you that those years weren't challenging. However, for a man of his caliber, the journey was an honor.
I always dreaded that day and that call. The reality that he died was a cold numbing feeling. I still have it. A relief in disguise as I always envisioned myself being a bit crazy or depressed after his death. But I'm just numb.
I distanced myself from my friends for a while. My crying episodes were without schedule and I was afraid of making them feel awkward.
Today I am remarkably better - until I see a photograph. I finally began cleaning his room today and found a picture of us. It was the one that I took down from the photo gallery in my hallway. I just couldn't look at that picture everyday, so my husband put it in my grandfather's room and closed the door. It's one of my favorite.
I dust off his old dresser and pick the picture up. There's an empty space in the pit of my rib where he is missing. My neck hurts; that pit in my throat wants to escape. I won't let it though. We look so happy in that picture. So healthy. We didn't know what the future held. It's almost too perfect to bear.
I look down at his brown, leather shoes and ponder how in the hell anyone could ever fill them. The truth is, no one ever will.
I hide the picture myself this time, in my room where it's a bit more visible. Hiding it for another day when I'll try again. Hiding it for another day when I'll be tough enough to hang it up in a frame on the wall. That day is not today, and that's okay.
Rest in Absolute Peace, Papa.