When I was little, Melody and I would turn our little selves upside down on the couch, the tips of our fine hair touching the carpet, while Grampie, sitting next to us, would tease and tickle us.
I feel a little upside down now.
When I saw him in the hospital last night, I knew he would probably leave us soon. He looked so much more restful then than he had that morning. I kissed his head and told him I loved him.
When I saw him in the nursing home the second time, I knew I would probably never hear his voice again. I don't even know what the last thing I heard him say was.
After he fell last year, I knew I would probably never walk around the lake with him again. When I moved in with him and Grangy for my freshman year of college, he walked around the lake every morning. Sometimes, I walked with him, and he would tell me stories about all the people he had known in all the places he had lived. We would walk to Quik Trip, and he would buy 'cappuccinos' for us.
When was the last time he smiled? When was the last time he hugged me?
Phrases of Christmas songs keep turning oddly in my mind.
"The fire is slowly dying, and my dear, we're still goodbye-ing..."
It seems to me that Grampie is that fire, and it is him we are goodbye-ing. I should say 'was' and 'were,' because the last glowing embers have gone out. But I am still goodbye-ing inside.
It's strange and disconcerting how grief comes in waves. For several hours, I'll feel fine. Then it'll crash into me, like a breaker reaching, rushing for the shore, seeping into the sand, fizzling into foam, and ending quietly. If a child sitting on a beach playing in the wet sand were washed over by such a wave, she would feel the same as I - the wind knocked out of her and her stomach churning from the mouthfuls of seawater accidentally swallowed.