The Words I Couldn’t Say

I’ll start with an apology.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for being a terrible granddaughter.

I was so happy that you knew who I was when I called to wish you a happy birthday today. I had heard the dementia was bad and I wasn’t expecting us to be able to talk. The call was less than 2.5 minutes. You told me you love me; that you’ll always love me. Then you cried.

The last time I heard you cry like that was when you had heart surgery decades ago. If you weren’t ill, I don’t think you would have cried. My grandfather was too proud to cry.

Laughter, anger, humility. Those you could express. For men of our culture and your generation, you don’t cry.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I never call. I’m sorry I don’t write or send you pictures of your great-grandchildren. I’m afraid. Afraid that she’ll find them and take them.

I’m sorry you will probably never see me again. I’m sorry that the next time I see you it will be when we inter your body next to my grandmother: your loving wife.

I can’t go back there. When you pass, it will be the last time I go back. I can’t bring myself to be there.

I will try to call more often. I want to, but I’m scared. I’m scared my voice will make you cry again. I’m scared she’ll be the one to answer your phone one day. I’m terrified of the day when you don’t know my voice.

I’m selfish. These are excuses. The fear is real, but I could do more.

Thank you.

Thank you for being the only positive male role model I had growing up. Thank you for taking me to karate, to choir, getting me that wedding singer job, allowing me to live with you when your daughter cast me out.

Thank you for knowing my voice. For telling me that you love me. That you’ll always love me. Those words mean more to me than you will ever realize.

I hope this illness doesn’t ravage you. I hope I was able to be a good granddaughter when I was younger. I hope I made you proud. I hope, as your mind slips away and your body fails you that the memories you have of me are positive. I hope, that when the time finally comes, that you can go in peace.

I love you, Grandpa.

Posted by Sarah Jayne

2 comments

Holy smokes Sarita you make me cry. This reminds me of me and my grandparents.

Thanks Mauricio. I just felt really sad after getting off the phone with my grandfather.

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