Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day Five

"Good Morning Grandpa, how did you sleep" was my greeting for him this morning.  I had forgotten about the voices I thought I heard, and simply wanted to see if he was ready for make another trip out to the shop today.

"Fine, until Hazel started talking to me" was his reply.  I was simply stunned.  You see Hazel in my Grandma, his wife, who passed away in the very house we were talking to each other in.  My first feelings were not felt out of fear of ghosts, but out of fear of losing him.  I know that people who are together that long tend to pass within a short time of each other.  I had so much more that I wanted us to talk about, I was not ready for him to leave.  After getting my bearings, I asked "were you dreaming?"

He let me know that he was completely awake when it happened.  It was just after three in the morning and she told him to "come on, Harley!"  He told her he was coming soon enough, but was not quite ready.  I stood stalk still, jaw stuck open with a look I can only assume was one of ultimate shock.  My mind was racing.  How much time do I have?  How will I ever say everything I need to say?  How will he know how much he has impacted my life and corrected all the wrongs of my father?  I could not take standing there in horror while watching him eat.  He just seemed completely comfortable with the whole topic.  Inside, I knew it was completely natural, and probably inevitable.  Still, I needed a moment.  "I really think it is great you two can still talk Grandpa, but don't get in to much of a hurry just yet.  I'm gonna go do chores and check back afterward".

When Uncle Mark got there, I had chores pretty much underway.  When we were done, I told him what had happened, and he held the same shock position that I had.  I knew that today I had to tell Grandpa everything I needed to, and be clear about it.  I needed to reach an understanding in order to never have any regrets.

I spent the mid morning, to early afternoon with Grandpa.  I told him about my respect for him, the efforts on his part that made me a viable man, and the fact that he was the most amazing person I know.  My heart knows that Grandpa understands me now, he knows how I feel, he has no guilt or regrets and is in fact "proud" of his accomplishments.  From that point on, we knew we could say anything.  We also knew everything we did or said, needed to be fun!

I am not sad that this could be the beginning of the final chapter for us at all.  I know that with all the wasted time in my life, that this act in the play we call life is going to be my most valuable.  We can now see eye to eye, in understanding without concern about agreement.  We have a unified and clear conscience.  We can now simply enjoy each other.

After our personal "therapy" session, Grandpa knew that I was on board with the hints he had given me.  He asked me a lot of questions about Jimmy.  He asked me if I was happy with my life.  If I had any regrets.  If Jimmy made me happy.  He asked me how I would feel in a life without Jimmy, and I understood his reasoning.  Grandpa fed me a reality in a question.  He was not just asking me to think about life without Jimmy, but to think of his life without Grandma.  I looked him in the eye for a moment, he winked at me, and we went to the living-room to watch a western movie.

We watched "My Darling Clementine" and shared a bunch of single serving food that I had bought a couple days before.  We did not talk, we just were there, together.

I awoke early in the morning to hear him talking to her again.  I put my pillow over my head so I could give "them" some privacy.

I did not tell Grandpa, as there was no longer a need.  The only regret I had was not facing him or his wife and explaining the truth about why I had left.  I was given my moment with Grandma before she passed, and now I had done the same with Grandpa.  The only regret I still had, was finally corrected.


I Am Woody January 28, 2009 at 4:55 PM  

I am so glad that you did not waste this opportunity. Too many wasted moments in most lives. I'm going to go tell my husband just what he means to me!

Predo January 28, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

Everyone should do the same. I can't imagine the torment I would have had looking back at this one missed moment in time. We may never get a second chance.

Unknown January 28, 2009 at 5:04 PM  

I am sitting here in tears...what an amazing, life transforming chance you had here....

I love you so! I love Grandpa too.

I wish I could talk to my Dad once last time.

Unknown January 28, 2009 at 7:47 PM  

WOW! I GOT CHILLS! Kind of reminds me when my 1st husband died, unexpectedly, of a heart attack.
We had our moment the night before...we always kissed and told each other "ILOVE YOU" but that was not enough...he died early the next morning, without a chance to say anything...we didn't know!He was only 53 yrs old.

YOU HAVE BEEN BLESSED! GIVE your Granpa A Hug from me! and one for you too! I envy the time and talk that you have shared! ANd so glad you've had that time together!!!

(Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl January 28, 2009 at 9:38 PM  

Awww, I have TEARS POURING DOWN MY FACE!! You both are amazing ... and ... and I just wish I could give you a huge hug right now.

I remember Gam called me about a month before she passed away. She sounded like she was 30 years younger. She hadn't used the phone in years and certainly didn't know my phone number but somehow she managed to get it and call me and my sister. She told me we'd all have a big picnic together again soon--that was one of our favorite things to do. I remember sitting there knowing exactly what that call was. I talked to her for as long as I could and hung up the phone, looked up once and just said "thank you." I'll never forget it.

Frita January 29, 2009 at 12:24 AM  

More tears here... I'm SO glad you guys had this time together. Grandpa sounds incredible! What a blessing to be able to say what you need to say to someone. I'm sure he is talking to grandma. My grandpa did the same thing when my grandma died. They had been married for 56 years. Mine wanted to go immediately though and was with grandma within 6 months of her passing. Your grandpa sounds like he still has things to do. I love this story!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. January 29, 2009 at 2:46 AM  

No promises for tomorrow for sure! What a lovely story Predo. I am happy for you and Grandpa too.
Peace at last =) God is good.
Love you.


The Rev. January 29, 2009 at 7:47 AM  

Several months ago, I wrote a piece about an essay of Kurt Vonnegut's in which he discusses several members of his family; Vonneget (and the majority of his family) was, in case you were unaware, a devout Humanist.

His essay focused on a particular uncle who imparted a specific piece of wisdom upon a young Kurt: as they were sitting in the afternoon summer sun, a family reunion of sorts underway, sipping lemonade together, his uncle turned to him and explained that when things are good, you'd better realize and appreciate it. Specifically, Kurt quoted the man's mantra as, "Well, if this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

After my grandmother died, I continued living near my grandfather as I finished school, and we continued our weekly dinner tradition. I showed up one warm afternoon, only to be surprised by my gramps waiting for me with two baseball gloves and a couple balls.

I'll never forget the feeling of tossing a few baseballs with my grandfather that Autumn afternoon, having casual conversation, and thinking, "By God...if this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Bella Della January 29, 2009 at 7:54 AM  

Amazing. I am glad you went out there and so glad you had these conversations. And remember that your Grandma and Grandpa will always be with you no matter what. I know my grandmother (Della) is my guardian angel.


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