Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Love, Loss and Root Beer Barrels

Hello again my friends.  I wanted to get back into blogging about my everyday life again right away.  But every time I tried to write about how I've been health wise I find that I can't avoid this.  And what is the point of talking about my everyday life if I'm leaving out the most important things?

Last Monday, my jichan (grandfather) passed away.  The particulars aren't...particularly important.  He lived a long and very full life.  He was a wonderful person.  There isn't enough time in the world for me to say all I want to say about him.  I said in my last post that we weren't an overly emotional as a family and I meant it, but he still managed to make me feel like I was loved in a way I understood.  I have this really random memory from when I was a little kid (maybe 5 or 6?) and he was babysitting me and my sister.  We were across the street playing when I suddenly got sick in the neighbors' driveway.  In a second he was there...he must have been watching from the window.  He carried me home and asked if I was okay.  He took care of me.  When my dad got home, the first thing he asked me was if I'd gone back over to clean up after myself at the neighbors' house.  That's not to be down on my dad, because I know (now) that he cared and his brain just works differently.  But I mean...when you're growing up and something so small as a request to clean your room can make you think your parents hate you - my jichan was someone who always loved me.  For an overly emotional kid he was a safe haven.

There were no regrets with him either.  Not a one.  While a big speech about how much I love him would have just been weird for both of us, I hope I showed him.  I tried my hardest on birthdays, fathers days and Christmases to make him presents from the heart.  Whenever I could I would hand make his gift.  For his 90th birthday I gave him an afghan that was...oh my gosh by far the most labor intensive (but nicest) thing I've ever made.  It was little fish that all fit together to make a larger blanket, and I hope he loved it as much as I loved making it, and I hope he understood every silly and important emotion that I put into it.  I really do think he knew, and I knew he loved me, and what else matters.  I was so lucky to have been able to spend a bit of time with him the day before he passed.  There was nothing I ever would have done differently.

But it's been really difficult.  I spent a few days putting on a smile, because life went on - at least that's what it seemed like for everyone else.  I didn't really get how life was going on, but it did.  I found myself wanting to buy things.  Mostly candy-related things...I can't tell you how much chocolate I had, cookies and candy.  My love of candy came from him.  As long as I could remember he kept hard candies in the ashtray of his car, and I remember always happily unwrapping one when I was lucky enough to be going someplace with him.  The thing about life going on though is that it really doesn't make unpleasant things go away.  You have to stop and deal with things and for me it was rough.  Whenever it was just me and Husbandcake I was beyond a wreck.  I never stopped eating.  Not once.  There was always more candy.  There was always another box of Christmas cookies to be opened.  I would eat while I was crying.  I knew I was trying to eat away my sadness and even that didn't stop it.

Let's be clear - I wasn't the picture of healthy living before he passed.  I had already been eating VERY poorly and not exercising at all.  After his memorial service I took a deep breath and realized that it had to end.  I couldn't eat my problems away, and I knew that I was going to have to get back to a sustainable life.  And that's what I've spent the past couple of days doing.  Coming to terms with not having any more grandparents.  Coming to terms with someone so important to me being gone.  Realizing that he was more important to me than I ever knew.  Moving forward wanting to learn from all of his positive traits.

I know he wouldn't want me to wallow in a sugar filled pit of despair.  There's no doubt of that.  I went with a wonderful friend of mine last night and focused all of my unhappy feelings into this:

If you know me in real life you will know how out of character it was.  I hate pain.  I am not a tattoo type person.  But even the day that he passed, I had this feeling that I wanted him to be with me always in some grand gesture type way.  I am sure my parents will think I'm crazy (I don't think they quite believed I was actually going to do it), and quite a few of you will too.  But it felt right to me and if anything was ever worthy of being immortalized even symbolically it was this.  The fish is because he was a fisherman, he loved fishing and I hope he would have liked it.

I miss him.  And after writing all that...sorry, I'm too drained to come up with anything more poignant :)


Crisc@JusKeepSmiling.com said...

Great tattoo I'm sorry for your loss, he sounds like a great guy

Jen said...

That was a wonderful remembrance of him. The tattoo is beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. Take Good care of yourself during this time of grieving.

Ice Queen said...

What a wonderful tribute. And from everything you said about him, very appropriate. I think that e would have loved it and been very honoured.

*hugs* to you.

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness, hun.. I'm so sorry for your loss.. I can't imagine growing up in your society (I can barely handle growing up in mine.. lol), but it's wonderful that you had your grandpa there to show you some caring gestures..

The tatoo is beautiful.. Honestly, tatooes are not for everyone and shouldn't be taken lightly.. and you obviously made a good decision with yours.. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your pain K :-( I wrote a similar post when my Uncle died...he was like my father. We're coming up on the 4 year anniversary of his death this month, and while it is easier, I still cry if I let myself think too much about how amazing he was and how he's not here now.
Please handle your grief in whatever way feels comfortable to you, and embrace the different stages. No one can tell you how to grieve, and the process is different for everyone.
My heart is with you!!


LOVE the tattoo!!

Jess said...

Love the tat. So elegant! So sorry to hear of his passing.

KyokoCake said...

Thank you so much to all of you :) for your sweet thoughts and words. He really was amazing and a true patriarch like you just don't see anymore...glad to report I'm already dealing a lot better, even though I'm sure it will be a long process!

@Arlene I'm so sorry about your uncle. That is awful. I feel the same way about my other grandparents too, the pain might be less sharp but it's always there I guess just to let us know we'll never stop missing those people in our lives.

Amy Jo said...

I've been slacking, eating crap, and lurking for months now... but I had to comment on this one. I lost my grandfather a little over a year ago and my heart goes out to you. In my case, I loved him dearly. I was his little girl; and for awhile, I actually felt shame about how quickly life returned to normal. I realized later that life goes on. His life was long, and full, and is finished. But his life still pops up at odd times; when I have the desire to put my popcorn in a paper sack, when I see a bird knick knack, or when I hear someone singing silly nursery rhymes. You needed (and still do) need time to mourn; but life also goes on, and that's good! Just honor him. Through your tattoo, and through your life, and through your memories. And your blog... cuz I missed reading it. :)

Kimberly said...

Even after all these years, I have tears in my eyes missing my grandmother. She made me feel the way your grandfather did for you.

I think your tattoo, which is cool, is a WONDERFUL way to pay homage to a man that you will always love. :)

Natalia said...

Oh, I just want to reach right through the computer and give you a big hug! I'm so sorry about your loss. Your grandfather sounded like a wonderful man and I can tell how close you two were. I think the tattoo is a beautiful tribute to him and I hope that every time you look at it, it brings back a happy memory of him, the two of you together!

Take care!

Raegun said...

What a beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.

Sarah G said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

Tammy said...

Gosh, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I loved how you described your relationship with your grandfather. It is a heartwarming kind of love.

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