It’s so strange that you’re gone. I guess it’s part natural denial and part being out here and thinking how I called you and Grandma every other weekend, sometimes less, and two weeks ago exactly was your last full day.
I’m sitting on the bus home from work and the sun has come out over the rolling hills to the west of the highway. We’re just a little south of Candlestick. It was raining pretty hard right before quitting time at the office… as we get closer to San Francisco the sky’s cleared the way it only does after rain, and boy is the green on the hills beautiful.
Today I felt anxious and a little down and claustrophobic—I’m scared in a strange way, that I won’t figure out how to be happy, that I’m not going after my dreams, that this commute is ridiculous and if I were braver I’d do something else, whatever that means. You give me such strength in those moments, Grandpa. I think about how proud you are of me and the jobs you worked as a young man and how when you were my age, you were in Korea fighting. Leading other men, some older than you, who were surely scared and would have killed to live in this fantastical life I have now.
I think about the advice you gave me before I went to college, to California in the first place. It helps me keep my head down and work hard, and let the anxious whispers find somewhere else to go.
I guess I think, when I’m feeling very grand about the whole thing, about this going down the line, with time—about how I might have a grandkid someday in a situation close to mine now, and if that happens then I’ll have done my job, and done a good job of it.
Thanks for being in my life, Grandpa. I mean, not just for showing up—thank you for that too—but for being a role model, an unequivocal role model. I don’t know how many people in the world have that, and goodness knows for that and so many other things I’m so lucky. I was talking to KD and Julie the other day about the things that are deep, deep in a person, the kind of basic building blocks of how you see yourself and everything around you, and for me that’s a deep well of love and family, family in a supportive, non-ideological way, and I can’t ever sufficiently thank you for every tiny decision and sacrifice you made throughout your life to help that happen.
I still only believe with my rational head that you’re gone. The rest—you don’t feel like a member of the ranks of the dead. I suspect that’ll change, but I’m grateful for it now.
Then again, Nana and Pete don’t either. Still don’t. I’m lucky for that, too.
The Yanks are falling back to .500 (although they beat Kansas City yesterday, and on Memorial Day with 11 runs in an inning and change!) and the Knicks managed to only get the 4th pick in the draft, so no new Ewing this year. Cross our fingers. Eli might do better in his second year with the new offense, and Odell Beckham’s a stud. I’m sure Harbaugh will do a good job with Michigan.
I was listening to a radio show I like the other day and a wise old man said that death would be an amazing discovery, the kind of which we’ve never had before, or at least not since being born. I hope it has been for you. I hope, even if it’s only in a loose, abstract way, you get to watch ballgames with Nana.
I had one of the most beautiful dreams of my life last night. I don’t even know if I believe in heaven—definitely nothing like St. Peter’s Gate… if anything I suspect it’s some unknowable monistic thing—but I woke up this morning to the sun coming through the blinds and the room lit in dull gold and thought that the world created in my dream was welcomingly foreign and mine and new, and I didn’t want to leave. I don’t want to analyze it or think too much about it. It was precisely what I’ve wanted and want, and could never have spelled out ahead of time. But there it was, and I felt perfect peace.
I hope you’re doin well, Grandpa. I’m prouder of you than I’ve ever been, and I love you.