Friday, February 1, 2008

I Miss Him...Still


My grandfather died the year before I was born.

I miss him.

I don’t know how that can be, I just know that there is an ache in my heart that should filled with him.

I used to carry a picture of him in my wallet. I carried no other pictures, not my grandmother, not my parents, not my husband, not my children. Just my grandfather.

The sepia toned photo did not age well in my wallet. It is jagged around the edges and the crease down middle threatens to tear my grandfather in two.
The photo is irreplaceable. It should have been preserved in a frame, but I couldn’t take it out of my wallet. I needed my grandfather with me. Without him, a fissure would appear, the fault lines would shift and my world would start to tilt.

When Daddy gave me Nana’s ring, I was finally able to wrestle my grandfather’s picture from my wallet. It now hangs on the kitchen bulletin board, presiding over our schedules and blessing each of our activities.

I’ve heard the stories that amputees tell about their missing limbs and the phantom feelings that linger, and I want to yell, “Yes, yes! I know EXACTLY what you mean! I have a phantom grandfather!”

I can feel my grandfather.
He is right there.
Close enough to touch.
Standing just behind my left shoulder.
He smells like tropical weight wool and skin freshly toasted by the sun.
His breath on my neck is warm and slow, and rolls gently like the waves. In and out. In and out.

Sometimes, he talks to me.
Mostly, he’s just there. Silent.
Loving me.

And still…
I miss him.

9 comments:

shauna said...

What an amazing connection! Your own personal guardian angel--I bet he's proud of you.

Wanda said...

Visceral. Love your writing. Love you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This is beautiful!

There is such a strong connection between you that it makes me wonder if you are his reincarnation. At the very least, you have been close to each other in other lifetimes.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Shauna,
I think my grandfather holds the bar high so that I will stretch to reach it. I know I have fallen short many times -- I hope that I have succeeded often enough to tip the scales in my favor.

Wanda,
Thank you. Love you too.

Hearts,
I have often wondered the same thing and I can but hope that it is true.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto Shauna, Wanda and Hearts in... Definitely a connection of the deepest kind.

love.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Carrie,
It is a connection that has always baffled me. Lately, I get the feeling that it is there because there is a task that I need to complete or a situation that I need to rectify for him.

Molly said...

I'm betting he's beaming with pride up there to have a grandaughter who embodies such sensitivity, and compassion, and determination to do everything she touches right.....

Molly said...

I'm betting he's beaming with pride up there to have a grandaughter who embodies such sensitivity, and compassion, and determination to do everything she touches right.....

Molly said...

Oops! That's me being impatient with my turtle-like computer...don't know how to erase my stutter either, sorry!