Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Grieving and guilt

I have been thinking about Papaw a lot.  Not in a crying way, or even in a teary way.  Just in a thinking about a lot way.

Of course, a few days after his funeral, I went to the grocery early in the morning and did become a little teary seeing all the old people doing their shopping.  I have such a sweet spot for old folks.

I began to feel guilty because I didn't do this when D's dad died in 2004....or at least I think I didn't.  I've had 12 years to forget how sad I felt then, so maybe I did feel this way and just don't remember.

When D's dad died, it was a complete shock.  He was only 58 years old.  We were all stunned to the core.  That made a difference in how we processed everything, I think.

And I was in the thick of my own mental health breakdown then, so I don't know that I felt anything accurately.  By the time T passed away on Dec 8, I was on medication (though considerably under-dosed) so I think I just felt a sad numbness.  Whatever I felt grief-wise probably got mixed in with what I was feeling or not feeling anyway--it was just a terrible time.

When T died, N was only 9 months old so we'd had very little time to develop a relationship with T as a grandpa.  He was very independent.  He and my MIL went on vacations with their friends and had their own active lives.  As a result of T dying, we enveloped my MIL, having her come to the house one night a week for dinner and going on vacations with us.  I'm certain we'd have a good relationship with my MIL even if T hadn't died, but I'm not sure it would be as tight as it is now.

I think after T died, we all pulled in as a family.  Papaw became the especially special grandpa because he was the only one on that side of the family; he was already loved, but I think in a sense he became revered in T's absence.  For the longest time, my kids didn't understand that Papaw wasn't married to Mamaw; that he was her daddy.  While we only had 9 months of Tommy as grandpa, we had 12, almost 13, years of Papaw as grandpa.

D and I were married 6 years when T passed away; we were married 19 years when Papaw passed.  In addition to 13 years of having him as grandpa to my kids and developing those memories, I knew Papaw almost 3 times as long as T.  That was 3 times as many Christmases and Easters and summer Sundays eating meals together.

I didn't come up with all this explanation on my own.  My feelings of guilt were really bothering me because I felt like I was dishonoring T so I talked to both D and my MIL about it, and they were the ones who kinda went, "Well, duh....this explains it."

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