my granddaddy died this morning. my dad's dad.
he died in his sleep.
and because we live in a crazy time, i found out over facebook. my uncle posted an update and i saw that before i saw the missed call on my phone from my dad.
when i called my dad back, he could tell i knew the news just by how i said "hi daddy".
i hadn't seen my granddaddy in years. not since he started suffering from dementia. so my memories of him are cloudy and from years ago. from when i would visit california as a little girl. i remember a man who made me breakfast--grits. i remember his smile. his glasses. his face. how even as a little girl i knew i was looking at a face that would one day be my father's. somewhere there is a photo of my brother, my dad, and my granddaddy all sitting next each other. they look identical, like they are the same person at different life stages. its incredible.
i don't know where my copy of that photo is.
i wish i had it.
my father is not a man who admits when he is down often. having to listen to him try not to cry on the phone nearly broke me this morning.
i called my mom to tell her. she cried.
last night i couldn't sleep. i tossed and turned and at some point, just stared out the window. i felt anxious, as i often do at that time of night. i worried about how i could die at any moment.
if this were a play, i'd say it was foreshadowing. but it is not a play. it is life. and sometimes you can't sleep because of worries about death and then you wake up, feeling better, feeling like those were just worries, only to hear the news that death has visited someone you hold dear.
it feels weird to know that i need to move from this spot. i need to walk the dog. i have writing to do. i have meetings to go to. or at the very least i have things to cancel. it feels weird that life keeps moving. it feels weird to move from this spot. it feels weird.
this morning, probably about the time my family was slowly learning the news of my granddaddy, i was finishing james baldwin's the fire next time. one of the passages i marked was this:
"Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty in our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death--ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return."
i go to words and writing. we see this time and again. here i am writing with no real point as my brain sorts out the information. as i figure out how to move from this spot. as i think of family and fathers and lineage and time and connections and memory. as i think of confronting with passion the conundrum of life.