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4 days ago I lost my step-grandfather, who I called Rara. He was more like a father to me, he raised me and has been in my life since before I was born.
I do not have parents (they are both drug-addicted and were unable to care for me), and the general dynamic of my family has been very rocky and complicated for many years. As a result, my immediate family consists of only my grandparents and Rara’s biological daughter.
Easily my Rara was the most important person in my life. We never fought, always laughed together, and had so much in common. I loved his stories, his jokes, and listening to all the things he learnt over his life. I used to call him my encyclopaedia because it felt like he knew everything about how things were built, how they worked, where they came from and more. He always played games with me as a kid, taught me how to drive, would record all the movies and tv shows my heart could desire. He never raised his voice at me, something which was particularly special to me since most of my family have been physically violent and verbally abusive, including my Nana. He was very proud of the fact up until he died, that he had always maintained a calmness and patience with me. He was everything to me, he really was.
23 years ago he was diagnosed with cancer, but in the last 2 years it really took a toll on him. He lost his battle at 71 years old, and for the last 2 months he has required a lot of support so I have taken time off to be with him and help him shower, take him to the bathroom, and do whatever it is he needed. I enjoyed taking care of him, because I was able to and he needed it. Whenever he would thank me I would tell him not to say thanks because he would do the same for me, and every time he would reply “yes, yes of course I would.” Taking care of him has been a very big part of my life, and since losing him I’ve felt very lost and without purpose.
I was adamant I wanted to be there for him when he passed, and while I do not regret that decision, it has been an incredibly difficult memory. His death was very animated, and although I am confident he passed peacefully, it did not appear that way on the outside. I learnt over him, held his hand and repeated over and over “it’s okay, I love you Rara, I love you” as he took his final breath. When I looked up he was gone, and I barely recognised who I was looking at. I went into shock, and each night I relive those moments until I exhaust myself and fall asleep.
I struggle to comprehend the permanence of what’s happened. I miss him with all my heart, but I have never missed someone without the hope of ever seeing them again. I can’t bear the thought that my Rara is gone forever.
I know that we have cherished memories, and that time helps us grow around our grief, but for the moment I just can’t a bear this feeling and I don’t know what to do with myself now. I feel like I have nothing left – I lost a grandfather, a father, and a friend.
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