Looking Through the Window.
When I was about four years old, my dad started building our new house. The land he built it on was given to us by my grandparents, who lived just in front of us.
When I would walk to school in the morning, I could look through the large picture window, into the dining room of the house my grandpa built, to see them sitting at the breakfast bar. My grandpa always sat at the far left, next to the radio, hunched over his ceramic mug of coffee that never seemed to leave his side throughout the day. My grandma was always in the bar stool next to him, most likely eating some health granola or grape nut cereal with a small glass of juice. The two empty stools next to her were what remained from my dad and aunt’s childhood.
When I played in the yard at night, I could look through the same window and see my grandpa sitting at the head of their long dining table just behind the breakfast bar, with my grandma sitting to his left, eating dinner. She would gaze back out the window, and you could see in her expression that her mind was in past thoughts or new ideas. There was probably always something exciting going on in that brain – after all, she was an incredible writer.
Four years ago, my grandma passed away. It was hard on our family, but probably harder on my grandpa. Sitting, even more hunched, over his coffee cup, alone. Eating dinner at his enormous, hand-made dining room table at night, alone. It was a heartbreaking sight after a big loss.
Last weekend, after a battle with a failing system, my grandpa passed away. I can’t tell which is more sad — Looking up and seeing my grandpa sitting alone with his radio, or looking up and seeing no one.
I keep thinking that the pang of sadness that hits me every time I look through the window on my way out the door may not have been so bad if my grandparents weren’t such creatures of habit and schedule; If I hadn’t counted on them to be within the frame of the dining room window into my adolescence and adulthood.
All week, I’ve been dealing with a roller coaster of emotions on dealing with the death of my grandfather, and with it the reminder of the death of my grandmother. Pride, guilt, sadness, fondness, wishing that time could go back. I keep thinking if I knew what I know now, I would have been a better granddaughter, I would have tried to learn more from them, cherish the time I had with them more. But I don’t, and that’s a frustratingly hopeless feeling.
This probably won’t be the last post about my grandfather. Or my grandmother. And I hope as time goes on, and I write about these two truly incredible people some more, I will stop feeling so sad.