Last night Emma asked me if she could read me something she wrote for her English class. I said sure. I like pretty much everything Emma's ever written. She read it and then I cried and then she cried and then I thought, maybe everyone wants to cry?
Crying is fun, right?
When I first heard, there was no proper response. One moment I was waking up, mid-morning sun pouring through my too thin curtains, and the next moment my world was falling. There was a moment of stillness when I put my hands over my face and shut out everything, but I was not able to shut out the turmoil inside of me.
When I finally opened my eyes I was thrust into a flurry of motion, a collection of jumbled up moments. Driving to Grandma and Grandpa's--no, just Grandma's house now--and seeing a man taking out his trash. So calm. So normal. Sitting with my dad on a chair just trying to make sense of how I was feeling. The tears coming for the first time while I sat against a tree with two cousins, as we realized what having him gone meant. No more Grandkids' Night. No more pancakes in the shape of the first letter of my name. Being in the family room with cousins while the adults talked quietly in the other room, planning the funeral. And the funeral itself, seeing his waxed and made up body lying cold in a green casket, being horrified but unable to look away. A quiet moment that night, when the family gathered together by the fireplace and his oldest sister told us stories from their childhood. Smiling.
Sometime later when the family from out of town had flown home, and the disbelief had settled, and the sharpest grief had dulled, we went to read the inscription on his headstone.
"Love you forever"