I was looking at my calendar to check dates of certain wine events coming up now through the end of April and of course my eyes stopped when I saw April 1. In doing a double take at that date I was unsure at first but quickly realized that is the anniversary of my grandfather’s (Papa) passing. He died April 1, 1996. It is jaw dropping that it has been 19 years.
In these 19 years I have lived two or three different lives. Maybe I should refer to them as chapters but “lives”, in my opinion, shows more significance. In 19 years I have been married, divorced, and married again. I had a step son and then I didn’t. I now have a biological son. I’ve lived in Texas, Kentucky, and California. I bought a house, sold it, lived in many rentals, and bought a house again. I’ve had a dozen plus jobs culminating in starting my own businesses in 2006.
I mean, that seems like lifetimes not chapters. My life, looking back on it, has not been dull even though it has seemed that way in the moments. When we step away from the micro moments in our life and look at it from a macro point of view…it really becomes mind numbing. I’m 38 years old and there is literally not a single aspect of my life that is as I thought it should have been when I was younger.
This is not bad or good. It’s simply life…my life. Curve balls come at you and you must adapt rather than attempt to convince yourself that it’s a fastball. If you do not you will swing and miss. The outcome is not the life we wanted or that we thought we wanted, instead it’s this tremendously marvelous and eclectic painting that happened.
I look back at what I thought were the worst moments in my life and realize they were not. There is no worst. Even the day Papa passed away was not a “worst” day. It was a curve ball. I had to adapt, adjust, and keep moving forward. Sure it sucks to lose someone that you love and admire so much but I can’t convince myself that he’s still alive just like I can’t convince myself that the curve ball is a fastball.
It just doesn’t do anyone any good. I look in the mirror and I see the gray hair coming in, the wrinkles, the scars, the freckles…you know, everything we consider imperfections…but it’s me. It’s Matthew Liberty Browne. It’s all I am and all I can be. My past and my today are what they are. We have choices. Adapt or don’t. Adjust or don’t. Each one of us needs to make that decision in all the tiny micro life moments and on the greater macro level.
A lot has happened. Good or bad, each moment is part of me. It’s not one grain of sand that makes up a beach. It is the trillions upon trillions of grains of sand that create the beach. It’s not one moment that defines me, rather it’s the collective of moments. I wish Papa could be here today to know my son, meet my wife, and take in a baseball game with me. It’s not going to happen though. I’m not sad about that but it all does seem very surreal.
To think about him being gone for 19 years and in that 19 years I feel I have lived two or three full lifetimes. Now that’s surreal. It’s like he was never here. It’s like he was always here. It’s like he’s still here and I will get a phone call from him soon.
This life…I cannot possibly come up with words to even begin to describe how I feel, my thoughts…it’s just impossible. This life is a far greater journey than words could ever describe.