I grew up in a family that could be termed many things: Non-traditional, blended, broken, or dysfunctional. Whatever you want to call it, for the past 50 years, Doyle was there. He was Doyle, he was Dad; throughout those years I referred to him either way depending on my mood or his. More so as dad in the later years and when speaking of him to others I always said, “My dad.”
Today, those words will be spoken by mother at my grandfather’s eulogy. Doyle died last Monday, April 14 at the age of 81 after a short battle with leukemia. The funeral will be in California. My mother and I talked briefly about whether or not I should fly out to attend, but times are lean these days, and we both quickly decided it would be best if I stay here, so I will not be attending. This was not an easy decision, but it also hasn’t been hard to accept.
Though I loved my grandfather (a man who I also referred to by first name and family title whenever it suited me), his death has not affected me deeply. I have cried, yes, but not over the loss so much as the toll it’s taken on my mother, on my grandmother. I was told my niece, who is three-and-a-half years old, and who did have a relationship with my grandfather, woke up in the middle of the night the night before he died and told my sister she doesn’t want “Grandpa to be an angel.”
That has been the only time I broke down.
Outside of that moment, even my closest friends are just finding out about my grandfather’s death as they read this post. I haven’t told my co-workers because there is no need for me to take off work nor has his death affected my performance. I am not “going through it,” as they say. Of course, Gina knows. I told her, and I’ve talked at length about things I feel during this ordeal, but opening up hasn’t been challenging, because as evidenced by this blog, expressing myself emotionally has never been an issue.
The biggest challenge for me, personally, is talking about the dynamics of my family in talking about my grandfather’s death.