Saturday, February 5, 2011

Head Knowledge and Heart Knowledge

At the beginning of January, I flew down to Texas to visit my grandparents, my dad's parents. (My dad has a blog, too. You can see it here.)

Let me preface. My grandfather, my Papa, is sick. He has carcinoid tumors in his liver. They're not spreading anywhere. The biggest effect it has on him is that it makes him anemic, weak, and easily tired. He also can't eat things that he used to, which is a bummer.

Before I visited last month, the last time I'd seen him was more than a year ago, at my college graduation. My dad told me to prepare myself, that he wouldn't look the same.

And I did that. I tried to tell myself that it had been a year, a tough year. He'd been hospitalized a couple of times.

But what I saw at the airport shocked me, I'll be honest. He looked so pale, so thin and fragile. I had to consciously stop the look of shock I felt creeping across my face, and I'm not entirely sure I succeeded.

A couple of weeks prior, I talked to him on the phone, and I asked him how he was doing. I'd asked him this question before, (obviously!) and the normal answer is something generic like "I'm doing okay." You know, the thing you tell people when you either don't want to tell the truth, or you don't have anything else to say.

This time his answer was, "I'm not well."

I'm not well.

He's the type of person who's been strong for his family, a provider, etc. And I'm his granddaughter. He'd never been weak for me. Ever. And here he was on the phone. . . I'm not well.

I know this is the normal process of life. We grow old, our bodies break down. My head knows this. And my head knows that he'll go home to heaven.

But my heart doesn't know this. My heart is breaking. My heart is breaking because I don't have any idea when I'll see him again, any idea of how long it'll be before. . . It's breaking because I miss him already, because of how much I know it'll hurt later.

And despite how much I tell myself the above logical statements, the pain of the unknown will still stay with me. And most of the time, I try not to think about it. It's easier that way. But every once in a while, at the most inconspicuous parts of the day, like when I was putting a bagel in the toaster this morning, it hits me, it pierces my heart and I can't help but tear up.

This seems to happen to me a lot. My head knows something that it can't make my heart understand. And my heart breaks anyway.

1 comment:

  1. My dear Leah,
    My heart breaks for you. The death of someone you love is never easy, nor should it be if they have been the person God wanted them to be in your life. So, realize that your pain stems from joy in having such a relationship with your grandfather. It is because you love him and know he loves you that these tears come. If there was no relationship, no connection, you would never feel as badly as you do.

    I also know it doesn't help now but the pain will pass. Eventually, the fog clears and we move on with out lives. But memories are such an awesome thing. Hold tight to those, record them, so that years from now when he is gone you can go back and smile, knowing who he was to you and that awesome love you shared.
    You are in my and always. Julie