About an hour ago I was prepared to go out. There were plans for us tonight. And I got a call from my friend Robert. But it wasn't the information I had expected. He wasn't calling to tell me where everyone was meeting. He was crying.
Nothing's going on, he said. He had just gotten off the phone with his girlfriend, and my great friend, Julie. Her grandmother had just died.
She was 75. The last I saw her was this last Tuesday. Julie had invited friends to her cabin in Vermont, and I was one of them. It was not my first time meeting her grandma though. Her grandma, though 75, acted and looked much younger than her age.
Her hair was still a beautiful red and she still had the strong hand, face, and body gestures of someone much younger. She was a riot to be around too: always the chatty cathy, she had wonderful stories to tell us, and was a witty lady to boot. She had married a Harvard PHd, after all.
But now--she's gone. I will never get to see her again; I will never get to appreciate the youthful vibrance of this extraordinary elder. Julie, my god, has lost her closest family member other than her parents.
This is only the second time I've experienced the death of someone I've known. The first was of a classmate in high school who I had actually been friends with all the way back when I first met him in elementary school. In high school, althought we were far from friends, he was in my french classes. He died the summer of my sophomore year in a car accident which killed him and burned and took the leg of another classmate.
When I first heard his death, I was both shocked (it was my first experience with human death) and felt a loss. Though I did not really know him anymore, I knew him pretty well when I was a little kid, I played with him. What disturbed me was that the loss I felt was very short-lived. It felt almost wrong.
As Robert sat on the phone expressing his sadness and sobbing, I felt an even deeper sadness. And you know what? That sadness ended after 5 minutes that I got off the phone. To try and keep my mind on something else, I had gone to the forums, posting and reading. When I laughed at something someone wrote on here, I stopped. I felt disturbed again. Talking, hearing the voice of, others helped me bring some perspective. I shouldn't have taken my mind off it. I had a duty to mourn. I was glad to know this woman, although for only briefly.
I supposed the reason why Robert was so dejected, and I was at first merely chagrined after beibg shocked, was because Julie is his girlfriend. They have intentions on marriage. They are very close, and I would expect his sorrow to go hand in hand with hers. And he explained that her grandma was like his only grandma, because he had not gotten to know any of his grandparents due to their deaths before his birth.
My god, how Julie must feel. Her best friend Lindsey is coming over to spend the night tonight. I can't call her tonight though, it is not appropriate. Tomorrow I will be giving a call to express my condolences and grief.
Her mom was there when she died. Just picturing myself in the family's position, I feel a great loss now. I must say, it did disturb me very much that I was laughing at something less than 30 minutes after I heard the news. I'm still not at the point of crying, though I feel I should be tearing up. Instead, I'm sitting here, typing this, now feeling a pain in my heart similar to loneliness, thwarted love, or extreme anxiety.
I felt compelled to write this. And I am glad I did. Unlike talking with other people, I was not able to fully asses my emotional standing, rather than try to rush out an explanation when talking to someone.
I've never been to a funeral. I've been to the service of a teacher (who I did not know), but I've never seen a full casket. Soon I will probably be attending my first one.
Though I'm still disturbed. Why am I not crying. I think it would be better to cry than feel this great sag of my heart. I wonder how I will sleep tonight.