For Yuvawn

Posted by · 11:13 am · October 28th, 2009

I just found out I lost my grandmother.

I don’t handle these things very gracefully. I don’t become an emotional mess or anything but I get strangely distant, hurting all the same.

She had a stroke not too long ago. And as terrible as it might be to admit, I could never fully steel myself for a phone conversation or another trip down to Georgia because I didn’t know what her slurred speech would do to me, emotionally. It was probably more inflated in my mind than it was in actuality, but nevertheless, I couldn’t do it.

I knew some day I would take my girlfriend down to see her and my father’s side of the family. I knew she’d be alright, that all the recent scares concerning a re-invigorated cancer were just that: scares.

The things we know.

The “some days” that never come.

My instinct was to write about it. My instinct was to manage it. My instinct was to leave my father, almost to Columbia, South Carolina when he got the news, alone for a moment as I know he would appreciate.

My instinct was to let the universe sort it for another few precious beats before I gave myself over to it. Because once I do, the past becomes vaster.

I am a nostalgic person. I look back and see happiness where perhaps there was none, or ease where perhaps the struggle was more intense. And when I’m not concerned with how things were, or how I felt at some other moment, I’m busying myself for what will come, how my path will look tomorrow.

I haven’t sat down and fully intimated myself with “now” in, I’m suddenly aware, a very long time. I think I would have been wise to do it more.

I hope this moment’s pause teaches me that lesson so that “tomorrow” is no longer a distraction, but instead, a gift. I loved her for being so kind, so thoughtful, so strong. For having the traits I wish were more prevalent in me. And I never told her that.

God — why did I never tell her that?

→ 27 Comments | Filed in: Et Cetera

27 responses so far

  • 1 10-28-2009 at 11:16 am

    Loyal said...


    sorry for your loss.

  • 2 10-28-2009 at 11:27 am

    Rae Kasey said...

    So sorry. Always sad to lose a loved one.
    Thoughts and prayers.

  • 3 10-28-2009 at 11:32 am

    Marshall said...

    What a heart-warming and insightful piece. It has something for us all to learn and ponder.

    You have my prayers through these hard times.

  • 4 10-28-2009 at 11:34 am

    "Julianstark" said...

    I’m sorry for your loss, Kris. I’ll be praying for you and your family

  • 5 10-28-2009 at 11:36 am

    Anonymous said...

    Very moving, Kris. I think a lot of people feel the same way when it comes to their loved ones. If it makes any difference, I’m sure the loved ones know in their hearts how much they’re cared for, even if it’s not said out loud.

    My sincerest condolences.

  • 6 10-28-2009 at 11:37 am

    Andrew R. said...

    I’m so sorry Kris. I was where you are now last year when my grandfather died in March of 2008. He had Parkinson’s and I hadn’t seen him in months and he couldn’t speak anymore, it was very hard. He lived in Thousand Oaks and I never seemed to have the time to go down and see him and I thought I would have had more time.

    My heart goes out to you.

  • 7 10-28-2009 at 11:46 am

    Ryan said...

    My thoughts and prayers.

    I recently lost my grandmother this past September. I hadn’t seen her for over two years. Never did get to tell her many things I wanted to tell her.

  • 8 10-28-2009 at 11:55 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    I’m so sorry, Kris. Please don’t beat yourself up over what you did or didn’t tell your grandmother.

  • 9 10-28-2009 at 12:00 pm

    Zizo Abul Hawa said...

    I’m so sorry for your loss Kirs…

    My condolences to you and your family

  • 10 10-28-2009 at 12:23 pm

    Mike_M said...

    My condolences Kris, I feel your pain, my last grandmother died almost 1 year ago (on my dad, her son’s birthday).

    I remember the day of my wedding my parents told me that my grandmother fell down the night before and wasn’t going to make it to my wedding (1 month before she died) . I always wanted to make sure I had at least 1 grandparent alive for my wedding, too bad she couldn’t make it.

    I thought she would have a short time in bed to get better, then she moved to the hospital and I figured that would be short as well, but things got worse.

    She beat cancer twice as well as other alignment, but the fall and complication just caused he body to breakdown.

    It was the saddest death I ever experienced.

  • 11 10-28-2009 at 12:26 pm

    Markku said...

    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss, Kris. I lost my grandmother not a week ago, but it was an expected and peaceful passing and our family was as well prepared for it as is humanly possible in that situation. I hope you will make peace with your feelings over her departure. Take some time off, if you must, I’m sure everyone here would understand.

    My condolences.

  • 12 10-28-2009 at 12:37 pm

    mike said...

    my condolensces man.

  • 13 10-28-2009 at 12:58 pm

    Adam M. said...

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Kris. I am honored you have chosen to share these intimate thoughts of yours with us. It is in these moments we are able to give the most to others and learn the most for ourselves. I hope you know you are a strong and gifted person, and you bring joy to many lives. Even when you feel caught in the tug of the day-to-day, know that you are truly doing incredible work with this precious time we are given.

  • 14 10-28-2009 at 1:04 pm

    John H. Foote said...

    So sorry Kris, and such a profoundly beautiful tribute to this lady in your writing — I learned the same thing about life when my grandmother died in 1984, and it was tough — felt I never did or said enough — now those I love, I tell them often, and when Sherri (my wife) was diagnosed with brain cancer, I probably tell her five times a day — know this though, through looking into your eyes, your grandmother knew the love you felt for her because we all have “that look” when looking at someone we adore — it’s obvious to me in reading your words you adored this woman, so how could she not help but see that love? Again I am so sorry for your loss Kris.

  • 15 10-28-2009 at 1:05 pm

    Christian said...

    I’m sorry, man. Keep your head up, you’ll get through this.

  • 16 10-28-2009 at 1:32 pm

    Hero said...

    What a lovely tribute, Kris.

    You and your family are in my prayers.

  • 17 10-28-2009 at 2:05 pm

    Jim T said...

    I am really sorry Kris. I really think it doesn’t matter that you never said those things. I think the younger generations feel the need to hear kind words. Older generations only need respect and love, not strong words.

    I hope you felt good sharing your feelings. My grandmother is quite old and I am constantly thinking she won’t be around forever (we are very close) so I am glad and grateful you shared these feelings.

  • 18 10-28-2009 at 2:24 pm

    Scott Feinberg said...

    Very sorry for your loss, Kris.

  • 19 10-28-2009 at 3:13 pm

    Patryk said...

    My condolences Kris.

  • 20 10-28-2009 at 3:27 pm

    P-Dawg said...

    Sorry for your loss, brother. Death is never an easy thing to handle but expressing yourself through writing is what you do best. I’m glad that you did. I’m sure your grandmother knew. Even if you never said the words, I’m sure she felt it. Just be thankful for the time you had together and know that a part of her will undoubtedly live on in you.

  • 21 10-28-2009 at 4:07 pm

    April said...

    I’m so sorry, babe. I would have loved to meet her. But don’t be so hard on yourself, we are only human, and all we can do is keep living as if only the best will happen and will continue to happen. I know you are nostalgic and and I love that about you, and as your family mourns her death, remember to celebrate her life, and her next great adventure–whatever it is that happens beyond life. Celebrate her release from physical pain, celebrate who she was and what she stood for, commemorate her joyfully. I love you and for all of our sakes, keep writing.

  • 22 10-28-2009 at 4:16 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Very sorry to hear that Kris. I hope you’ll get through the coming and difficuly period.

  • 23 10-28-2009 at 4:23 pm

    Michael said...

    My condolences Kris, I know it is tough to lose a loved one (I lost my mom to breast cancer this past August) and the only thing you can really do to cope is to fortify yourself with family and friends. They are there for you to lean on in this difficult time. I will spare warm thoughts to you and your family.

  • 24 10-28-2009 at 5:29 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Thanks to everyone, including my loving girlfriend of course, for the kind words. It’s a little surreal. Trying to concentrate on work but I’m finding this one stings more than I anticipated. And thanks for understanding the need for an outlet. I don’t like to busy this space with the personal, but when I do, it’s something that is nearly instinctual. So thank you for not making me feel like this might have been more information than you wanted on your daily Oscar surfing rounds.

  • 25 10-28-2009 at 5:48 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    You have my thoughts.

  • 26 10-28-2009 at 8:59 pm

    Glenn said...

    Sad loss for you, Kris. Hope you get through it. Regards.

  • 27 10-29-2009 at 1:15 am

    Manuel said...

    Im so sorry for your loss Kris. And your tribute was very beautiful and insightful.
    Everything is all of the sudden very existensial and will be for a time and then you get through it. Im in a situaton where my mother is loosing the battle against cancer and there are only few weeks before she is gone. Thank you for your piece cause it helps me feel less cold and strange.