First, I want to say that I appreciate everybody's support and kindness over the past few days. My grandfather's funeral was today and it was really lovely. I've never attended a service in a Catholic church, and I'll never be able to smell incense again without thinking of him.
Additionally, I want to share a few thoughts... It ended up being a more positive experience for me than I thought it would. He was never very close to me - he was very much a stand-off, keep your physical and emotional space kind of guy. He never told me he loved me or even hugged me. I do have wonderful childhood memories of the few times he took me to a local craft festival... We'd walk around, eat wonderful food, and he'd buy me whatever trinket I wanted. This was during my preteen years and then, one year, he just never called to invite me to go again.
After that, we never had much of a relationship, despite the fact I'm his only grandchild. He met my husband once and made a snarky comment about me finding a new stud (my husband is the second guy I've ever dated). He never met my stepchildren. The only time I ever spoke to him was if he came over to visit my dad and he would start some Serious Rightwing Bullshit™ because he knew it annoyed me. He didn't find the time to come to my birthday parties, my highschool or college graduations. He didn't come to my wedding shower.
I've been grieving the loss of potential. Oddly, I feel almost like an orphan now that the last of my grandparents have died, even though I still have two wonderful, loving parents. There's a hole there for me that I wish I would've taken the initiative to fill.
Talking to other family members, I heard several times how he would brag about me to them. How I graduated from college summa cum laude. How I found a man that my dad said was a good one. How he used to take me to those festivals.
I've been crying all day. (Aside: Covergirl Clump Crusher waterproof is NOT waterproof. I have ridiculous zebra stripes down my face after the service. I did not realize this until after I'd hugged and thanked many people.) I'm bereft at the loss of what COULD have been. We could've shared more time together. I should've tried harder to make him an active part of my life, but I never thought he cared. I apparently mattered more to him than he let on, and I guess it's both good and bad.
I can remember him in a better light now. When I think of him, there will be good. When I tell my children about him, I'll relate how complex families can be, and how someone can love you but not be able to show it. There is now light to balance out the dark. I can take it to heart, find peace in it and make sure the people in my life that I love are absolutely aware of just what they mean to me.
So hugs, HUGS all around. Give your loved one kisses and tell hem that you love them. As cliche as it sounds, you never know what tomorrow might bring.