everyone i know goes away in the end

2001.
My mother died. September 11th happened. My very close grandfather died.
All in a tightly packed little row.
I never cried when my mother died. Never got upset.
The morning I found out, my father and sister banging early on the door to the apartment my girlfriend and my brother and I shared.
I found out after she had already been rushed to the hospital and pronounced.
What was left now was identifying and signing.
I called and quit my job. A very good job. One I had worked hard from nothing to gain. One with a future and promise. One I was very good at.
Paperwork.
I had to go, the others too far gone already to cope with minutiae.
I said goodbye in a cold empty room off the emergency entrance.
She looked nothing like the woman I’d grown up next to.
Nothing at all.
I never cried.
Not for any of it.
I left the hospital to get coffee and read the employment section.
Asked the counter girl if they were looking for help. Got myself hired slinging coffee.
I helped my father handle proceedings and logistics.
At night I had a large group of friends over, making everyone dinner.
Following dinner I did my radio show.
I never cried.
Not the day we lowered her down. Wearing borrowed suits. Central stage among hundreds of friends, family and colleagues.
And not the day we buried my grandfather. The man I spent my childhood next to. Gardening. Working in his garage. Rainy days spent next to him on his porch.
Helping my father bury his father, I never let go. Never felt as others feel.
I never cried.

But never once, no matter the mood I’m in, have I been able to hear the guitar begin, or see the video open, without feeling all that pain and sadness well up inside me and want to explode.
I have not cried about anything since I was a child and decided one day that I would cry no more.
But every time this song plays somewhere, anywhere, anytime…
I feel thirty three years of emotion pile up at the door.
Johnny Cash.
Synonymous in my mind with Grandpa.
The hands as he closes and gently caresses the piano.
I miss my mother. I miss my grandfather.
I still wish I’d been able to cry for them.
But I sure as hell never forget them.

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