Thank you, D. I'm sorry you went through that, but I'm glad you shared it with me. I'm going to try very hard to stop beating myself up about these things - it's just so hard to have perspective about everything right now. I have a therapy appointment on the 24th (assuming it won't be cancelled on me again) and it's odd knowing I have a professional on hand to talk to me about this. IDK what I'll manage to say through the bawling I'll likely be doing, but still.
That day I sat silently by him, I also looked up the 14th amendment for him in his almanac so we could find the part that applied to some government action and watched some shows on MSNBC and he said Grandma had "a fetish for" that House Hunters International show (which we also watched). But all I can think about is how most of this involved sitting in silence, even when the commercials were on and muted, and I wasn't touching him at the time. I need to think about the stories he told, how I got him telling me the backstory behind his father's paintings and how he used to love going to this local restaurant (that I had no idea has been around so long) when he was in the Navy and how he smiled when I went "Oh man!" when he mentioned the price for a plate of fried scallops, which was something mind blowing like twenty-nine cents.
And I need to remember how he was the king of bear hugs back when he was stronger - it took my brother mentioning it for me to remember! Now I can recall how strange it was when I started having to be careful of how hard I hugged him. The super rib-crushing hugs I give my uncle to say hello and goodbye came into existence because I had been responding in kind when my grandfather gave me a great big hug.
My uncle is a determinedly un-touchy-feely man, but after they took my grandpa's body away, he held onto that hug for some time. I was surprised - I'd started to drop my arms sooner because I assumed it'd be like always - and I was also oddly proud, that he wasn't afraid to show that emotion and that he felt safe/right showing it with me. I also started dropping my arms too quickly when one of my cousins hugged me when he came over in the daytime because I wasn't expecting him to want more. It wasn't as big a difference, but it was there and I made sure to hold him long enough without that initial confusion when it was time for him to leave. I of all people am not one to cut a hug short, after all.
Awhile back, Grandpa gave me his copy of the science journal issue from when he was my age, maybe younger and in college, in which some engineering research he was involved in got published, including an idea of his that had his boss/adviser's name above his because that's how it worked. He told me that I was the only one he felt could understand it and I was so honored. He also said he'd just throw it away if I didn't want it but he can't have meant that because how could I not want it, good lord. Also, Grandma says he never threw things away, lol. I listened with rapt attention to his description of what they did and I put it in my room for later reading after thoroughly enjoying the fact that I had it. When I'm sleeping in my bed again, I want to take that journal issue out and learn the year so I'll know just how old he was and learn the ins and outs of the experiment and the name of that boss/adviser and everything. Grandpa had said the other articles were interesting, too, but no matter what strides in nuclear engineering those other people made, they're not my grandpa.
...It's a siggie