Death is hard. No matter when or how or who.
It was hard when my moms parents died 6 and 7 years ago.
It was hard when my cousin passed away and left behind a husband and 3 small children.
It was hard when our Debbie died of cancer a year and a half ago.
It was hard when we lost Jay's 15 month old niece in February.
And it was hard yesterday when I lost my grandpa.
Regardless of whether you see it coming, you never comprehend a life ahead without them in it. The children and friends who come after today will never know these people I loved. They will never get to share a chocolate shake with grandpa or have Debbie to bring them sunflowers when they get their wisdom teeth out or a new collection of lip glosses for Christmas. The life I have ahead will never include grandpa asleep in his chair when I come to visit. It will never include Rory playing with Eve at a family gathering.
I know that they're in a better place now than they ever were here, but we are still left here without them. Jay reminded me of that during the first funeral we ever went to together. He leaned over and said something to the effect of, "At least we know they are happy, it's just us saps down here who are sad." And I think he was quite right.
The combination of human nature that makes us change-averse and selfish makes us never want to lose anybody, though that same humanness makes death inevitable. Had I no knowledge or faith in what's to come I would be lost thinking I could never see them again. Luckily I know better. But today I am sad. And tomorrow I may be sad or I may be happy, but life will keep moving.
So here's to hoping Rory inherits Grandpa's brain, wit, and work ethic. To hoping Jay can help keep some off-color remarks moving dinner conversation along in his honor, and that I can always think of Jay the way he thought of grandma when he told me stories of her on the way home from my awards banquet in high school.
Here's to never forgetting being small and convinced that there was a watermelon in his tummy, and that he was going to come upstairs as "the big bad bear" and get Jessica and I when we couldn't stop giggling in bed as kids. Here's to hoping I can enjoy early mornings with Jay the way he did with grandma for as many years as he did, and to hoping I can avoid both his heart-attacks and his temper.
And here's to being grateful. Grateful he softened that temper and loved his grandkids. Grateful that he told me "I love you" so many times. Grateful he kept the ranch he inherited, when I'm sure it often would have made a lot of sense to sell it (and use that brain of his to make a more stable living than being a rancher could afford). Grateful to have known him and shared the same small town with him for my entire childhood. Grateful he could meet my baby here on earth, and now that he can meet the rest of my babies in heaven.
Love you forever, handsome. I'll look forward to seeing you again.