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Writing 101 Day 4

[Today, write about a loss.]writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-1

I heard it said that any technology that exists when a child is born will be natural to them as they grow, requiring no more thought to use then does a light switch. Similarly, parts and layout of houses appear normal to a child until either someone mentions them, or the child grows up and realizes that no one else has that bathroom in the detached garage.


My paternal grandparents’ house was perfectly natural to me growing up. It was not until I was in college did I, suddenly, realize that other people’s houses didn’t have exposed red brick walls in the den with a very small window high up on the wall, overlooking the kitchen sink. Obvious to me after that point was that the den had been added to the original house, but instead of covering the preexisting exterior brick wall in sheet rock, they had left it. Now seen as “retro” and attractive, then it was just odd.


I never really knew my paternal grandfather, PawPaw. I hear stories that he was the playful one when I was very small, getting in the floor and playing with me and my brother while MawMaw looked on. I was ten, or maybe nine, when PawPaw had his surgery and in the 1970s, “open heart” or bypass surgery was not as common as it is today. When PawPaw had his surgery, he never returned to the playful man he was before because I have no memory of him being like that. Most of my memories of him are of him in a nursing home. We lived a couple of hours away from MawMaw and PawPaw, so visits were spread throughout the year, but the memories were of hospital-like settings, antiseptic, institutional green and white walls, and of a loved man confined to a bed.


Though I don’t have many memories of the man in life, I remember the funeral. The family held reunions in the family cemetery, so the place was known to me. I remember not feeling sad for the loss of a person I didn’t know very well, but sad for the friends and family that were already missing him like he had gone or gone for a while, especially Dad and MawMaw. Their grief was familiar, like a comfortable suit.


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