tonight i am missing my grandfather more than i can express in words. i feel that subtle ache in my throat from the sadness that wants to come out but cannot. there is no room, you see. i have much to do before bedtime. in the background, my cable is playing one 'adult alternative' hit after another...some slightly upbeat, some melancholy, some filled with aching hope. i'm down the hall chatting on IM, cleaning up my desk, and trying to create some semblance of order before i hit the hay (cleaning lady comes tomorrow). i already checked in with my bff, my mom, and my work e-mail (check, check, check), and i'm longing for the quiet of an empty room and the white noise of a fan to drown my thoughts about tomorrow and all of its worries.
last night, my mom was sewing and i was in the living room doing work, and it hit me so heavily. mom, i miss grandpa, i said.
i know, she said, i miss him, too. every day.
every day. yeah, that about sums it up. it's been almost 15 years since he died, and there isn't one day that goes by that something doesn't stir up his voice, his spirit, his ways of answering questions, his quiet knowing. these days i look for glimpses of him in every man i meet. most don't possess even a shade, but there are some...a few...whose character and very essence hearken back to a time before they crossed my path...to a person they've never met and, on this earth, never will.
when my grandfather was a young man and not long married, he had to go overseas in WWII. during that time, he wrote my grandmother letters (letters i knew nothing about until after she died five summers ago) telling her of his days and instructing her to watch this or that aspect of her health and the health of their young daughter (my mother). amidst the medical advice (he was a doctor, after all), you could sense his love for her and his longing to be back with her. and as an old man, there was never any question that she had been his love all those years. through their arguing and sometimes even yelling (conversations, they called them), he looked at her with the kind of certainty that bespeaks something so much deeper than movie screen love affairs and flowery poetry. it was the kind of love that had seen war and death, birth, blood, sickness, hard financial times, difficult relational times, children, and the putting of hands to a plow (or hammer, or stethoscope) to put in an honest day's work—side by side. it was a love that never gave up, never walked out, and never needed proving with empty words and meaningless tokens.
it was a love that spilled over into four children, six grandchildren, and hundreds of devoted family and friends. it was a love that changed my little kid heart every time he held me tight, called me sweetheart, or asked me to sing him a song.
every day. yes. every. single. day. i still feel that love. i still miss it. i want it again. and obviously, though it won't be the same (nor should it), it will echo of times past. of honor and forbearance. of believing in someone's dreams and promises and hopes. of wanting the best and laying down your life for that to happen. of knowing what you want and never, ever letting it go.