Aah, bugger. I hate it when the sad sappies strike. You never know when or where, you don't know what will trigger them, and once they are there... there's no denying them. *sigh*
The other night it was hearing Swiss whistle the way my always Grandpa did... he was a whistler. The kind of whistle that has a subtle warble, vibrato thingy to it. We were watching Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings together and he whistled along with the happy music from the scenes in the Shire and the tears came. Slow and steady... I miss that man so very much. I miss so many things from life PreD (pre-Deployment)...
I miss how life was before then. We had a home, we lived together, my family was whole (mostly), my friends were close, my life was 'normal'... or at least normal as I knew it. So much has changed in the last year plus. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by them all... and here I thought life PostD would be easy and breezy without a care in the world. Ha!
As I heard Swiss whistle... the memory of the phone call in the San Fransisco Airport came flooding back. Calling home to see how the family was doing... hearing from my dad that my grandfather, my last grandparent, had a stroke, a very bad one and was in the hospital. I remember the instant tears that came flooding in, hot and unrelenting. I remember the fear and worry that I might never see him again. I remember thinking that it couldn't possibly be his time yet.
The I remembered rushing home to Wisconsin as soon as I arrived back from the airport. I remember packing up the dog and my dirty clothes and driving through the night just to get home. I remember recounting all the wonderful memories I had of my dear, sweet, kind Grandfather... the laughs, the silliness, the wisdom, the quirks, the love. I remember worrying about my Mom and how hard it was to see him in the hospital, hard to watch him suffer. I remember him trying SO hard to talk, to let us know he loved us. I remember doing everything in my power to keep it together for him. I remember thinking over and over again- it isn't his time. It can't be.
But it was. And it was horrible, and it was one of those times you so desperately want your spouse home (curse you deployment!). So they can help bear the burden of your pain and hurt and loss. So they can be the ones to comfort you and ease you through the rough spots. I remember not wanting to weight my Mom down with my emotions, trying to be strong for her. And I remember looking back, after it was all done, wondering what had happened to the person I was just a short year ago.
Those are the times you look in a mirror and see someone new staring back at you. You see the same face, the same features, but they are almost imperceptibly hardened, reinforced, steeled. You find that you don't react the way you once did to the litany of things that come flying your way. You find that you, even at the age of 31, have changed in a slight but profound way. Maybe it is innocence leaving, maybe it is naiveté vanishing, maybe it is just the toll of sending a loved on to war- the natural wear and tear of such a stressful and all-encompassing thing. But sometimes, I find myself wishing for the person I used to be to come back. I miss the utter honesty of my emotions- I wasn't ever the girl who could keep her feelings in, I cried, I laughed, I reacted with quasi-composed abandon. I miss the innocence I had, about how challenging life really is, I miss the blissfully deluded world I used to live in.
But here I sit, a few days removed from my sad sappy night, and I can rejoice in the beauty of the things that have happened to us since then. Swiss and I have been reunited, we are happily and madly in love, we have some new friends, I've appreciated the wondermousness of my 'old' friends, I am still utterly amazed by the incredible people I get to call my family and I can sappily and happily reflect on so many years of memories with the ones who aren't with us anymore. So maybe, just maybe, all this change, all this heartache, all this loss- while still sad and utterly sucktastic- helps me keep my perspective and be appreciative of all that I do have. And it reminds me how lucky I was to have such an amazing man like my Grandpa in my life for so long.