Today, though is not a birthday. It is an anniversary, not of a beginning but of an end.
Today, the one that is passing as I currently type, not the calendar date as it comes every year, has been good... but it would have been naive of me to think the sting was entirely behind me. Death is always hard. A tad bit harder so when it falls so close to a day of celebration that will continue on happening for the rest of your life. Because from that point forward the two are invariably tied.
Then comes the guilt... when the celebration it's tied to is your own birthday... the guilt over the fact that you mourn yearly, you remember everything so much more clearly, for the grandparent who passed the day before your birthday than you do the ones that left long before him. Sure, it was more recent... I hardly knew what death was when the two that went before him departed. My Nani and my Grandpa. I also didn't know them as well... I had more time with Papa. And yet I didn't take advantage. Knowing from the early losses you think I would have learned. I would have made more time, for the man who told me stories of frogs that ate hot ham sandwiches and of the inner workings of cheeseburger factories. The man who always laughed. Who used his hands to create the most intricately detailed things from paintings and drawings of landscapes and architecture to models so lifelike of trains, planes and boats. The man who always insisted we have a twirl ice cream cone after every meal we had together at the local burger joint. It wouldn't be a treat without it.
I remember how intensely he watched performances on TV. Not sitcom acting performances... actual shows put on by performance artists that just happened to be made available on television... sometimes ballet, sometimes opera, some musicals and concerts. Of course there were plenty of old westerns too... but what stuck with me was the curiosity. The history as well as the art. Shows on war, yes, but also on the innovations that came out of it, the advancements of travel and infrastructure. He was also intensely curious about us, his grandkids. Nothing thrilled him more.
Yes, today is a good day. Sad, yes. For the world is without an amazing man... but also happy for the blessing he was, and still is to me. In loving memory...