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post #16
bio: stu
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7/15/2004
19:00

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I Heard the News Today (Oh boy)
This is not one of the funny ones.

This is not even one of those where I try to be funny and fail. If I try to make a joke at all in this, it's because I don't know what other emotion to feel right now.

I just found out my grandmother died, and I don't know how to deal with it. I don't know how I feel right now. I don't even know how I should feel. And this is only in part because--due in a large part to her and my grandfather--I was rasied as a Norwegian Lutheran in the Midwest, a place that refined stoicism to an art. It's not that I'm burying my grief, trying to keep it hidden from a world where men aren't supposed to cry; it's that I honestly can't find my grief anywhere.

I wasn't that close to my grandparents. The last time I saw grandma was five years ago, and I only spoke to her one more time after that: this past Christmas time. Her voice was so weak and resigned by that point that I heard maybe ten percent of what she was saying; mostly, I just spoke and made educated guesses on what she could possibly be saying on the other end of the line. It wasn't all that difficult, since she and grandpa stopped expressing interest in my life around the time I graduated from high school. There was no falling out with any family members, no big feud. Just grandma and grandpa giving up on the world, and letting it pass them by.

I'm probably being too harsh, and I know I'm coming off bitter. It's highly likely that my grandparents loved me, adn they certainly never did anything that would imply that they didn't love me. But they never made the effort to let me know either way.

So.

I've been incredibly fortunate so far. My other grandmother died before I was born, and my other grandfather died when I was 7. In the intervening two decades between his death and last night, I haven't lost a single good friend or family member. A guy I carpooled with committed suicide when I was in high school. A drinking buddy from my time in Edinburgh died of heatstroke while she backpacked through India. An acquaintance from online died unexpectedly of illness six months ago. Death has been hanging out around the fringes of my life for so long, and I'm so thankful for this, but dear god, I don't know how to act now.

Mostly, what I have right now is guilt. Guilt that I don't feel as bad as shows like "Six Feet Under" imply I should feel. Guilt that I am worried about how much going to a funeral is going to cost me, and how going to it will get in the way (of what? I don't know).

And finally, guilt that I didn't get to know this woman better, before it was too late.






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