I’ve never been good at sharing my pain with others. I’ve kept it all inside, hidden away from those who want to judge, to compare, to analyze, or even offer comfort. But when I write… I no longer care. My pain becomes just a story, something no one can take from me.
Love it or hate it, there’s nothing you can do to destroy a story.
Today we buried my grandfather. It was supposed to be his 75th birthday. He had suffered terribly at the hands of faith: he spent half of his lifetime battling with a number of medical conditions (diabetes, strokes, arteritis). He fought on, surgery after surgery, pill after pill, sleepless night after sleepless night.
I think it’s rather easy to die. For something or no reason at all. It’s even easier to die for something. To kill for something. It’s much more difficult to live for something, even if it’s just the simple act of walking.
My grandfather loved to walk. Nearby from where he lived was a park. In the last few years of his life, he could barely do that anymore. In the last few weeks, he couldn’t walk anymore.
I don’t know what life is supposed to be or mean, but if you can’t even do the simplest of things…
When he decided that he had enough, he died. He gave up. It was enough.
The bitter truth is that we all die. Ever since we take our first breath, life slowly sinks into death. We get closer to it, day by day, until it happens. The bitter end. And we’re all terrified, no matter what we believe in.
I wish I had told him that I loved him, that he was the only person I truly admired. I admired the man he used to be, long before I was even born, the young boy who walked all the way from a small village to the city in order to fulfill his destiny, the confident and strong man he became later in life, and the old man who fought bravely for his life.
When I last saw him, pain had erased hope from his soul. He wasn’t even afraid. He was just alone. He wanted to be with us, he wanted to spend his last moments with someone by his side.
He didn’t get that. He died alone in an intensive care unit, which is a fate no one truly deserves. No one should have to travel through this life alone, and no one should have to die alone.
Whether he felt that he was standing on the edge of forever, that he was about to find peace, that pain was about to finally subside, I know that he wanted us to be with him.
We couldn’t. None of us could.
It’s a strange thing to wish for, given the multitude of things we spend our lives wishing for, but I’d want just a few more moments with him. To tell him what he really meant to me, all these years, what impact he had on my life.
I never even told him that I was writing a book about my childhood, half of which I spent with him, strolling around the park he loved so much.
It’s ironic, but forever starts from the moment we die. Forever in the minds and hearts of the beloved, forever in the form of a story or painting, forever trapped in old, old photos.