I wasn’t sure how to start this blog post. I still have no idea how to articulate all the emotions nestled up inside my heart that is conflicting with my brain.
I wanted just one more hug, one more memory where he actually could remember me. I, in fact, don’t actually recall the day he stopped remembering who I was, and that is probably for the best - nothing will break your heart more than looking someone in the eyes your whole life with love and admiration only to one day have the gaze back at you empty, as if a ghost of him was left.
But, you know what I do remember? I remember that no matter how many faces he forgot names to, he still always greeted me with a welcoming smile and loving “nice to see you dear.” I remember that no matter how many meals he may have forgotten to eat, he would still sing at the top of his lungs his favorite Scottish songs. I remember he would still show off his Coronado Golf Club Membership as if he just got it that very day with the sheer excitement of a little boy on Christmas morning, even though he’d had it for years.
But mostly I remember the things that mean so much more, like how I couldn’t even speak the words “Grandpa”, or walk, before this stranger came into my life and welcomed me with such an embrace that I still feel it deep in my bones. I remember him from so early that I’ve never remembered a day that I didn’t know him. This may not make a lot of sense to some and I don’t want to get off track explaining my family ties because ultimately, he was my Grandfather. He was the one who took me to the Zoo, who signed every birthday card for 30 years “Grandpa”, the one who ensured I was treated equally, and who showed me a gentle nature that only some saints aspire to hold.
I won’t forget how pale his skin was months before he passed, or how frail his once firm hand shake had gotten, but those are not the memories I will hold closest to my heart.
Death can leave this empty shell of a body behind while allowing the spirit to roam amongst the stars freely and while my heart is heavy & restless with emotions, I feel the warmth of the Boston sunset behind me, and I can feel him too, letting me know its ok to be sad, but to remember the reasons to laugh. And boy did that man know how to laugh….