I didn’t realize how long it’s been until a few hours ago. I was cleaning my room before bed when I glanced at my nightstand and saw a photo of my sister and me hugging my grandpa, and I got that all-too-familiar twinge of sadness that comes with seeing his sweet face. This particular time, I thought about how much I had to tell him. I feel like the past few months have been like surfacing out of a fog you didn’t even know was clouding your vision. After a year of isolation and extreme hardships, I have been indulgent in happiness, friendship, and knowledge. It is something he would love to hear. At first, I thought, “that can’t be right,” until I counted out six on my finger – almost six months since August. I looked up at my reflection in the mirror that hangs near my bed and burst into tears.
I think it doesn’t feel like six months since his passing, and the passing of my other grandfather shortly after, because the hurt is the same as the days they died. The exact same. Not nulled at all, just farther apart in waves of active grief. My triggers are everywhere, from seeing an older couple walking on the street to hearing a Sinatra love song. As trivial and pathetic as it may seem, it is only these small, beautiful moments in life, maybe ones that I would not have noticed six months before, that elicit such an intense reaction. This connection does not pass me unnoticed. My grandpa was only connected with the good and pure in this world, the things that enrich our everyday being. This revelation calms me.
I am doing the things that he and I always talked about doing. I am finally at the age where I can understand cultural works that he told me changed his life. I have recently read some works that I can already feel have permanently altered my perception of the world, classics like Plato’s Symposium and Dante’s Vita Nuova. After a year stunted by corona, I feel as if I am understanding and accepting who I am, what makes me good and bad. With only a year and a half left at Tulane, I am being forced to look towards the future as less of a dream and more of a reality. And now it hurts because I’m doing it without one of the few people who would be most proud of me, who had watched me grow and would know how much this all means to me. It is a special thing when you give someone a piece of your heart because it gives them access to everything you are afraid to show. But when your gift is accepted completely, down to its every last flaw, it makes your successes and triumphs that much more meaningful.
So what do I do? I continue to do things that would make him happy and proud of me. I know that if he read this article, he would love it. My belief that love permeates the gap between life and death persists. If we needed to physically be with someone to love them, then love would not exist. Love is meant to bind those separated by space and time. The visceral reaction I feel while writing this is all the proof I need to show me that Love is strong and true. What I have noticed, six months later, is that I am freer with my sadness. I do not wrestle to keep it in, unlike before, but let the tears come and go when they do. My mind may know when I’m sitting in class or out to dinner, but that does not matter to my heart. It bleeds when it wants, and where. I think it is an evocation of their memory and a tribute to their name. I guess that’s what grief means to me right now – the price of Love.
Sylvie Kirsch is a writer for The Crescent’s College Life section. She’s a junior majoring in History and English and minoring in Classical Studies. Although an unfortunate sucker for love stories, Sylvie enjoys writing about design, music, and the everyday lessons she’s learned while coming of age in a post-pandemic world.