I told my mom the other day that although I loved and respected my grandfather, and I missed him when he passed, I didn't know him ALL that well... and besides, there were issues. Plus, he lived in another city.
But Kip is different. I told neighbor yesterday evening that missing Kip is affecting both the Sun and I... I find myself walking around with a deep, dull ache. It's an odd feeling... I've never experienced this before. We've been blessed in our little bubble of a family to have not experienced the death of a loved one, or someone very close to us in quite a while.
I'm not distraught, I still haven't cried. I find an amazing sense of peace in the way he went and because we had talked about it with him, and I knew he wanted to go, there is no anger about his leaving. Maybe that's it... You can't argue with someones decision when they have been adamant about what they want. You accept their decision even if you don't like it or agree with them.
In my mind's eye, I keep seeing his face in death, and because there was no strain, and because I've seen him asleep on the couch countless times, there's not much difference between Kip asleep and Kip dead. And this is also odd to me. My last memory of him won't be one of pain or suffering, but there is an air of finality. "That's it, then. We're all finished here."
Last night, we went upstairs to visit UNN1, and I was amused that UptairsMom, who hadn't been downstairs in weeks (the Neighbors have a duplex apartment), was downstairs, in her chair, eating fairly heartily. She's 89. Again I sat in Kip's seat, with the Sun on my lap (wow, he's heavy) I could hear Kip saying "I told you she'd outlive me."
UNN1 had been going through pictures to assemble for the memorial and while it was so sad to see Kip in his Coast Guard uniform, or Kip laying on the beach, or laughing with his friends or being silly, it was so nice to see him in his prime, with his dark hair and full captain's beard, to see how much in love he was with his cute little bride, and what a good life they had. I asked UNN1 if I could post a picture on my blog and she said I could, so in a few days I'll add it.
The Sun misses him; it's harder on him when we go upstairs and Kip isn't there, but generally in his day-to-day, life goes on. But when we're upstairs he gets really quiet.
I told UNN1 I still can't imagine life without him. I told her I didn't know how to "be" and so I didn't even know what to offer other than continuing life as we've always done it; going to work and school and karate, or violin, but that if she needs anything just call.
And UNN1 is OK. She's sad but I noticed the brightness in her voice was creeping in, and she was eating a good salad when we came up. But I can't imagine how she must feel; faced with a good stretch of life without him, and rearranging her home and her life. I restrain myself from asking her just yet "What will you do now? Where will you go? Will you stay?" because I know she doesn't even know that yet.
I thought to myself, it almost makes you never want to fall in love knowing that one day you could be faced with the ultimate parting. But on the other hand, Kip's death has made me less afraid of just loving... what's the worst that could happen? A break-up? And I've been through several awful ones... but the thing is you break up for a reason. But losing a loved one to death--that's a whole other ball game. Yet, when you've lost them to death you are confident in the love that was there--so maybe that make it easier to bear, in a strange way?