I know it’s almost Valentine’s Day and it’s that time of year where everyone brings their sweethearts close and reminisces on what it means to be in love.
Fact: I do not have a sweetheart.
Fact: I am not in love.
Fact: I have loved.
So this Valentine’s Day I’m going to bring you a reprieve from the sappy sweetheart posts and talk about familial love. The love between a mom and daughter or, in this case, between two buds. A granddad and his granddaughter.
I’ve posted about it many times, but my granddad, my Bud, was my first best friend. We lost him in September and that pain hasn’t gone away, but it has been put into perspective. I guess it’s like that cliché says, “It’s better to have loved and lost.” Although, it hasn’t always felt that way.
When you’re around a loved one who is in constant pain and is, for lack of a more sensitive way of saying it, dying, you learn about real love very quickly.
Love is holding the trashcan while they’re sick.
Love is making them laugh as another needle is stabbed into their arms.
Love is sleeping in a chair at their bedside for weeks.
Love is holding them up and carrying them inside the house when their body has failed them.
Love is holding their hand and telling them, despite the pain and your chest, that it’s okay for them to go home.
I did that with my Bud. All of it. For the last weeks of his life my mom and I took care of him. We’re so lucky to have had time with him when he wasn’t in pain and his spirits were high. But we’re also lucky to have had the opportunity to be with him even in those last horrible days.
We both sat by his bedside the night he died and told him that it was okay. That we were okay.
Of course it wasn’t true. We were the farthest thing from okay. We wanted to be selfish and keep him with us for another day or another week or another month. We wanted more time.
But we loved him.
And in those painful moments loving him meant losing him.
I am still not okay, but I’m glad to have loved and lost because for that I am changed forever.