I miss my grandfather.
It’s not every moment of every day, but I guess for me it’s not supposed to be that way. He wasn’t my father, we didn’t live right next door to each other but I miss him in those moments so much I wonder if my heart won’t fracture in my chest because of it.
Sometimes I get angry because he’s not here for me to talk to, I get upset because I have questions I want to ask him that I’m sure I trust no one else to answer.
Things remind me of him, random things that catch me so off guard I lose my breath in the moment and struggle to maintain an even look on my face.
When I’m at his house though, I don’t miss him nearly as much. I’m surrounded by his mountain, his garden, the pond he built in the backyard where the fish he picked out still swim. I can sit in his chair, the comfortable leather one that was rarely taken over by anyone else. It kind of hugs you, so it too makes me feel more at ease. It’s like he’s just gone golfing and is about to talk through the door at any moment.
I have a recording of him singing, of him talking, more pictures than I can count on both hands and both feet - more memories than I can shake a stick at. I have books that he’s given me, I see the birds outside and can name them only because of him. And I still have things from him I can learn from, I can grow from.
In his last months of life, I got the privilege of being by his side, of holding his hand almost every day, of being the little girl that used to call him her hero, to being the grown woman, a “hero” he looked for when he was nervous about things happening around him.
We got to be scared together, we got to be sad together and while I was comforting him, he was comforting me.
“I had a good life.” He’d say.
God, don’t I know it.
You’ve lived more in your one lifetime that most could live in two. You learned everything you could, and helped so many people through your years I now wonder how you managed it.
You raised three very different, very wonderful people who grew up to have their own families who I might be bias to say are all wonderful in their own ways.
But I miss you.
I can’t tell you that I have finally written a book - you can’t read it. You can’t see the second oldest grandchild who is about to graduate high school, who stood so bravely at your memorial service at my side, or the way she held me up no matter how she was feeling herself, always checking on me. Or how fast your grandson is growing up, almost taller than your wonderful wife - who has to be the strongest person I know. You can’t see your youngest granddaughter’s artwork, her creativity who is growing like a weed herself, which you’d marvel at.
I can’t ask you what kind of tree is in the backyard…
How I can possibly fix a shattered relationship with someone who I will always love no matter if I learn to forgive them or not.
I miss the way you always said “thank you” every time someone kissed your bald head.
I miss your laugh.
I miss the way you danced with your wife, and the picture I took so many years ago isn’t enough for me even though you both are smiling your best smiles.
I was finally old enough to appreciate everything you could have taught me, to hear all of the stories you had, to recount all of the stars in the sky with you.
The time we get is never enough, it never will be - but I’ll see you again. One day I’ll become the stars too and you can teach me all about the next adventure.
I love you more.
Life never ends, it just changes.