This will probably sound so heartless, but sometimes dates, times something hurts less if you forget. I had been having nightmares since the begining of April and I couldn’t figure out why, I went along my merry little way and today was worse by far. I felt so cranky towards everyone and really didn’t want to deal with people or be around any one.
Then MJ lit the fire, we cook out a lot and I smelled the wood burning and the familiar pull that left my breathless as I looked at the date. Its April. Last April I had to watch my Grandfather, the man I thought would never die because he was kind of my hero, this stubborn old man that was so strong and always had a garden and worked so hard be put into the ground.
Only he wasn’t my Grandpa anymore. He was the shell of the man I grew up with. Alzheimer’s had robbed his mind and left his body weak years before he actually died. He didn’t know who I was, and didn’t recognize my little sister and I when we went to see him to sing for him. He was just this brittle old man that I didn’t know and I didn’t want to know this man. I refused to go see him because I wanted to remember him strong and sitting at his kitchen table playing cards and passing out cookies. I wanted to remember the Vicks vapor rub he had on his vents because he had a wood stove and some how Vicks and Iodine made everything better. I wanted to remember his huge garden and him bringing his girls Glad’s from the garden. I wanted to remember his war stories and not the man sitting sick in the hospital where I’d volunteered when I was in 8th grade.
My boyfriend reminds me a lot of my Grandpa. Strong, hardworking and very country. I know this sounds odd but this comforts me in some strange way. My Grandpa was an awesome man, a bit cooky but when you get into your 70’s you’ve earned the right to be crazy. He was a World War II vet and used to tell us stories about the airplanes launching off the boats. And he’d also tell us stories about the trains and the tracks he used to build. I really miss my Grandpa on days like this. I wish I’d paid more attention to him and his garden.
I laugh because my Grandpa was SO TALL and I’m SO SHORT. I’m 5’3 and he was like 6’6. My grandmother was 4ft 11 in when she died (I was four and was almost as tall as her.) He never remarried, but damn did he learn to cook in a hurry! He made the most amazing fudge, and peanut butter oatmeal cookies. They would have chunks of brown sugar in them. I remember and miss the fresh vegi’s in the summer from the garden, and how me spliced together three different apple trees to make the best apples for pies. So good. I remember the cherries and elder berries and my mom making jellies and jams.Hell I don’t think I had store bought jelly until I was a teenager and my mom couldn’t can anymore.
I just really miss my grandfather and in writing all this I think I’ve gotten it wrong. I was crying at the beginning of this post but those memories brought smiles to my face and I think it would hurt more if I forgot. Those memories keep him alive for me at least in those memories. I hope that the way my life is going now, that I am making him proud and that he is looking down on me from where ever he is right now, with Grandma and laughing because he never did give me the fudge recipe he promised, but smiling because he knows I will figure it out myself.