The times, they have been bleak lately. I actually said out loud, twice recently, I feel dead inside. This was in jest, of course, in the taste of unfiltered dark humor, but there’s always an underlying truth to what we say.
It can be attributed to things, I suppose, if I wanted it to be. The life of being PC’s not-yet-ex-wife and mother of his children. The frustration of having a disability. The palpable stench of loneliness. Throw in slumming it financially and the emotional turmoil of my little song-and-dance with The Plumber and really: this bleak sense of life could absolutely be attributed to things. Or rather, I can blame it on those things.
Because the truth is, all of this is inside of me. Things have happened, yes, and they will probably continue to happen. I see it everywhere: no one is safe. My brand of crisis may be a little over the top, but its also prominent because it’s happening now. It is not necessarily special, unless I’d like to become a martyr for divorce, victims of psychological abuse, wives of alcoholics and poor people everywhere. Sounds uplifting, no?
Something shifted the other day. December 18th. My grandfather’s birthday. And although I have not felt especially spiritual lately (you know, being dead inside and all) I still formed a conscious thought of Happy Birthday Grandad and then, as always, he showed me himself in the form of a hawk. He has made his presence known to me many times, in small ways and big, grand ways but somehow I sort of forgot that he’s always there. He’s always with me.
I was relaying this to someone and found myself talking about my grandfather. He was a man of inspiration and spirit. He was a dive bomber in WWII. He was a lover of nature animals. He was an amazing father, father-in-law, and grandfather. He was a charitable man, an affectionate man, a kind man. He was the kind of husband that seems to exist only in storybook romances. My favorite photograph of him is one of him during WWII, holding a photograph of my glamourous grandmother, staring adoringly at it. On the bottom is written ‘what pilots dream of’.
He was above all a positive man. We’re talking about someone who had cancer and then gave speeches about The Positive Side of Having Cancer. As I continued to talk about him, I could feel myself smiling. I was asked, If your grandfather was here, what do you think he would tell you to do?
And the answer to this is that first, he would hug me. And he would tell me everything was going to be okay. And then he would tell me to buck up, put a little effort into my life. Finally, he would tell me to look on the bright side. I know this as sure as I know each day will fold over into the next.
It was also commented to me that this man is in my genes. In my genetic make-up lies a person who’s spirit and influence are so positive that nearly twenty years after he’s gone his people still talk about and remember him on a regular basis. I know that it is not just me: my sister and all of my cousins on that side of the family, we all feel this way. And its not just me who has been drug through the ringer. My sister has a special needs child. One cousin lost her husband a few years ago. Another is going through a divorce that rivals mine.
I’ve said recently that I’m sick of the look on the bright side, count your blessings, stay positive type of sentiments. But then, on December 18th, Grandad reminded me of who I am and what I come from. And although its still all cloudy and black inside, there’s a little bit of light. My spirit is still there. This is a low point, but its not the end of the road. Its the beginning.
Not dead inside, after all. Thanks again, Grandad.