There was this feeling of flying, of belonging when I ran the other day. I couldn’t seem to stop, the wind in my hair and the river on my side.
I saved the memory for weeks like this. Where my knees are weak, because my body wasn’t expecting such heartache.
My grandpa passed away on Sunday. I was in Oregon eating dinner when we heard. Heart attack, they said. Sudden. No one knew. Except for him, he had blood thinning pills in his pocket.
He called us at the beginning of the road trip. He was so excited that we were going–he used to take my Dad on them–glad we were passing along the tradition. Have fun. He said to us, could he have known that we would never see him again.
I’ve cried so much…because I never realized how much he meant to me. I mean I’ve always loved him, but I didn’t how much he touched me until now.
We had a lot in common. A love for history biographies and the news. Soft spoken and snarky comments. Quiet at family reunions, only saying something every now and then.
I’ll miss him. The way he said the blessing. His wink. The way he still cracked the sarcastic comments on my dad, or told us his embarrassing stories. His Ford F-150, olive green rides. His love for Cracker Barrel, and how we ate it almost every time we met with them. His stubborn strong will. His ability to do math in his head. Him asking me how my math was going, I always told him mediocre, he told me to work harder.
This one memory of us sitting on the porch, and mourning doves fed on worms in the yard. I got up and ran at them, scaring them away. Proud of what I did, I returned to the porch to meet my grandpa with a frown on his face. He told me not to disrupt them, what harm were they doing?
To this day, when the mourning doves come out, I watch in silence. They must mourning for the old man, who protected them from a wide-eyed 5-year-old. The Korean War Navy veteran. The one who traveled the world and saw tons of amazing animals, but still loved those stupid doves.
Probably not, but I am.
But I know that one day, I’ll be able to smile at the those things, the small things he didn’t know people would miss so much.