Friday, May 18, 2012

My Grandpa

In November I lost my grandfather.  Tomorrow is his memorial service.  Tomorrow I'm really saying good-bye. I've been living these six months pretending that I'm not in grief but I think about him almost every day. It is the hardest at night.  I often wait until Bjorn has fallen asleep to really start crying, because I'm not dealing with this well.  I've had moments where I'm not ashamed to say I've bargained with a god I knew didn't exist.  To give me some message that my grandpa is listening to me and knows I love him.  I'm always disappointed.

Then I heard a song by George Hrab.  It is called "Small Comfort" and they lyrics go:
I’m glad I get to miss you
but that you can never miss me

Thinking you’ll wake up and see us
is your eternity…
small comfort.

My grandfather was one of the most selfless and generous people I've ever met.  Do I really want him see me in this much pain for eternity?  It is time I started repaying him. I don't believe in an afterlife, but I do believe someone can live forever as long as we keep their memory alive.  So now I'd like to celebrate my memories of Burton Loren Sorensen, my Grandpa Larry.

When I was little my grandparents watched me all the time.  My earliest memories are in my grandparent's backyard playing with Snuffy.  He used to put a ball in a tree and we'd spend hours watching that dog jump up and grab it.

We used to spend long hours in Veteran's Park and then eat at Perkins where he got irritated the puzzles in the place settings were too difficult to figure out.

As I got older my grandparent's were at every event in my life.  I don't remember one ceremony, karate tournament, piano recital or badminton match he wasn't at.  Even if I didn't do too well he always made sure to tell me he was proud of me.

He always encouraged my writing, and said that someday I'll be the next Jack Kerouac, without the crippling substance abuse.

I remember telling him once about the bullying I endured and he taught me a poem.  Every time I feel discouraged or down on my self I remember that I have "Miles to go before I sleep".

My brother played a lot of sports in the summer and my grandpa would always pick him up.  We'd spend long afternoons at the fountains waiting for him to finish practice.  We'd talk about anything and everything.  That is the same place my husband proposed to me.  The same place I'll take my kids.

My grandpa was always there when we needed something fixed.

My grandpa once took me home after a teeth extraction.  I had just woken up from general and I was leaning on him for support.  I said some ridiculous things he never wanted to talk about again.

When I was in high school I had to write a report on my personal hero.  I wrote it about my grandpa.

I used to sleep over at my cousin's and in the morning my grandpa would babysit and take us to McDonalds.  He would always hand the bag over to us and we'd always hide something.  Every time he got madder and madder until one day he threw the bag across the room.

Everything I watched the history channel I heard something I'd want to talk to my grandpa about.  I still get that urge.

I remember the comfort of his car and how it always smelled slightly of cigarettes, like the blue jacket he always wore.

I remember seeing my grandpa for the last time.  He looked so small and frail and being around him made me scared and sad, but he was still making jokes and smiling.

The last words I said to my grandpa over the phone were "I'll see you soon.  I love you".  He passed away peacefully later that afternoon.

I still think about my grandpa everyday.  I think about him every time I lose my temper.  I think about him every time I hear a poem or a Bob Dylan song.  I think about him every time I see an older man on the bus, or someone with the same lilting walk.  I think of him every time I'm at my desk. I have his wedding picture right by my keyboard.  My grandma looks so beautiful.  He looks so young.

I think about how unfair it is that the world had to lose someone so awesome.  I think about the time I lost being afraid.  I think of how he made me a better person, played a part in my life.  So you see, he won't ever really be gone.  Maybe living through memory is my version of heaven.  Or maybe I'm ultimately wrong and he's watching a World War 2 documentary with Bob Marley. It is useless to think of all the things I could have said or did.  It is a beautiful and warm May afternoon. I'm going to go outside and enjoy it as the photons and particles of countless loved ones lost float around me.