I do not fear death, nor am I afraid of dying. Death can be a funny thing. Everyone looks at death differently. I happen to be one of the people who see death as an inevitability. Therefore it’s not something that I feel I should be afraid of.
Recently, however, I had lost someone who was very close to me. My grandmother. She was my best friend when I was young. We would play catch every day, she loved to be active and to have fun with her grandkids. Baseball, football, walks, playing in the playground with us.
My mother was very sick when I was young. Suicidal, self harm, etc etc. She wasn’t mentally capable of taking care of me, so I lived with my grandma. She used to own a restaurant so she absolutely loved to cook, and she was no doubt the best cook I’ve ever met. I would help her with her gardens, because what 6 year old boy didn’t want to play in the dirt? I had a certain love for nearly everything. She hated nothing and was trying to teach me at a very young age to be a good person. She was incredibly funny and loving. Always joking and laughing. She never had a little granny car either. She wanted a truck, so she got a truck. She wasn’t satisfied with a big truck, so she got a bike. She would always take me to and pick me up from school with the bike. Of course, a 6 year old coming to school on a bike makes you the coolest kid in your class. I mentioned her having gardens earlier, she would always have fresh vegetables and fruits available (not that I wanted to eat vegetables at that age anyways). She would always always have homemade jam made, and she knew that my favorite was strawberry so she always had more of the strawberry than any other kind.
When my brother and I came to PA she was the one that drove us here. Yes, we drove to Pennsylvania from Missouri. I was 9 at that time. She had only come to visit one time after that, and I don’t blame her at all, that was a very long ways to drive. Now that I look back at it, I’m actually surprised she drove all that way again just to visit her grandkids. Actually, no I’m not surprised…she loved us so much and did nearly anything for us. She visited when I was 11 or 12. She stayed for a weekend and then went back home. That was the last time I had seen her. Of course I had talked to her on the phone plenty of times since then, just not as much as I should have.
When I was in basic training I would write to her. I didn’t know how bad she was already (I went to basic in 2011, so this was 3 years ago) until I she told me that she would write everyday. She did just that…she wrote to me everyday. Every single day during mail call my number would be called at least once with a letter from my grandma. I started to realize that she would talk about the same things over and over, tell the same stories over and over. I thought at first it was just difficult finding something different everyday to write about, until I started to get almost the same letters twice. I was so happy to know that she was thinking of me but I felt so awful that she would write to me and not remember the previous letter and write the same thing. I started to feel worse and worse the more letters I got. I still wrote back, but I never told her how bad I felt because I knew that she didn’t know she was doing it. She just seemed so happy to be thinking of me and getting letters that I couldn’t pull myself to say anything. I cried to myself at night because I knew she was sick.
It just got worse from there. When I would call I had to keep myself talking because she just wanted to hear how I was doing. Nothing wrong with that, but if she got to talking then shed go on about these crazy stories that didn’t make sense, she’d ramble on about nothing, tell stories over and over again. I understand that things like that happen with grandparents, most of my grandparents are like that…but she was so much worse. She was paranoid about everything and couldn’t remember much.
She started to go to the hospital more and more. I kept meaning to call but I didn’t know if I could take it. I wanted to talk to her so bad but I knew that she was sick, I didn’t want to break down when I was on the phone with her. I neglected to call her because I was selfish. I kept myself from her because I was afraid. I was so scared of losing her that I couldn’t handle talking to her. We all knew that she was going to go soon and that just made it so much harder for me to call.
It’s been months since I’ve talked to her…probably very close to a year. l didn’t even call on her birthday. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up like this, I just feel guilty. That’s just how death seems to be though, no matter who it was the same thing is always said: “I should have called more.”, “I should have visited more.” etc.
I know I haven’t written or talked to you in awhile, but I miss you. I’m not going to blame myself anymore, because I know you wouldn’t want me to. I haven’t been doing much lately, but I’m trying to get things back together. I’m not going to be able to make it to the funeral, and I’m sorry. I want so bad to go. I’m going to be the only of your grandchildren that can’t make it. I just can’t afford to fly out to MO last second like that…I’m so sorry. I know you’d understand, but I can’t help but feel bad. Thank you for giving me everything you did and just for being you. I love you and miss you so much.