In 2007, my grandfather died. He had cancer.
Four weeks ago, I started writing about it. In piecing together what I remembered, I found my quotations missing lost words from conversations that I wanted to erase at the time. I guess it worked. At the fourth paragraph, I put it away.
When I was in high school, my grandfather introduced me to Johnny Cash’s “When The Man Comes Around.” He had to explain the symbolism. In my mind, my grandfather and the songs are the same.
When he died, I took off school. I told my teacher the day I would be back. When that day came, we had a lesson on death and symbolism and poetry- I wanted to run from the classroom.
When my grandfather died, my mother read a book called ‘A Guide to Bereavement,” or something like that. I learned that bereavement was a nice way to say ‘grief.’ Kind of like ‘friendly fire’ is a nice way to say that you went to war and blew your friends and neighbors to shreds of once-human pieces. I thought that a guide to bereavement would be no more helpful than a book that explained how you already feel. I didn’t need to read what I was already feeling; but I hoped it helped her.
Last Wednesday, I was told that my Pappy, my paternal grandfather, was put in the ICU. He has cancer. I was told “it doesn’t look good.”
Today, I am again experiencing precipitating grief. A term that I read about in Family Science two years ago. I wonder why we study the experience of precipitating grief when, whether we learned about it or not, we all experience it. To me, learning about a feeling before we’re blessed or cursed to feel it holds no benefit. It’s like learning about ‘taste’ before we are allowed to take a bite.