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.
I miss him.