Ever since I opened my Mom’s Christmas card and learned that my Grandpa had died last May, I have felt like scattered confetti. I have missed appointments and meetings for no other reason than I simply forgot or forgot to even read my email. And when a fellow master gardener wrote to ask if I was OK, I realized that my head is full of static and my heart is full of sorrow and I didn't know what to do. So, yesterday, I found my Grandpa’s gravesite through an online search and I went to talk to him.
I picked him a winter bouquet of grass seed heads, ferns, and beauty berry from my garden. And then we drove to the cemetery to find his grave. He is at rest alongside his fellow soldiers from World War II in a large spacious field surrounded by plantings. And I was surprised that my Grandma, the love of his life for 70+ years, isn’t going to be buried beside him.
For a fleeting moment, I remembered visiting this cemetery as a young child with my grandparents. And while they placed flowers on my great grandmother’s grave, I ran through the grass doing cartwheels. I remembered how the plaques felt underneath my young fingers before I understood what the plaques signified.
I stood in front of my Grandpa’s plaque, wiped it clean with my hand, and placed the bouquet on it. Soft rain surrounded us, and I talked to him for the first time in 11 years. I thanked him for all of the beautiful memories and even told him a few stories. I updated him on My Kid being a teacher now. Then I told my Grandpa that he had broke my heart, but that I have forgiven him. I ended with telling him about how much I love my garden (which he would hate!) and how he had passed down his gardening affliction/addiction to me. I invited him to come visit my garden as long as he doesn’t prune it or power wash the moss off of everything. That man adored his power washer. I finished by telling him that I’d do my best to honor his memory.
My Pirate held me close and then we left. I took My Kid out for sushi and tea last night and we talked about our memories of my Grandpa. And for a moment, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, to be sharing time with one of my favorite people. Then I went over and enjoyed time with my friends and watched American Idol. This morning, I feel like my pieces are coming back together and I no longer feel lonely. I simply feel sad and free to remember the good times.