There is a strange man sitting across from me at the table, in a flash I see him again. In a flash there is another hint, a frozen frame of a man very familiar to me, who is familiar no more. This strange man is a small piece of everything I remember about my grandfather. It’s like watching a puff of smoke disappear right before your eyes. He is running, dancing, walking and crawling away from himself one deep breath at a time. Always a little bit closer, inching forever away from me and toward the inevitable. I will keep these pieces. The parts that have been left behind. Laughing eyes, dancing feet, big spirit. Energy enough to fill a whole room. When he sits, what concept of time exists as he sits? The minutes marked by new aches and pains and how much he has forgotten.
“Trying to remember, it comes with great difficulty. I remember a piece of myself. Something I’ve done, somewhere I’ve been. A memory. Usually about me and the woman I love. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten, but sometimes remembering makes me so tired.”
Exhausted from a life of trying to remember everything. Dance with me; hold my hand one more time… Let me sing you “Happy Birthday”, let me see you smile, while you love my grandmother with your great big old heart until the day you die. My Papa. If I sit on your knee now I would probably break it. Brittle old achy bones that creek and crack and crumble. Crumbling to dust all wrapped up in swiftly evaporating memories. What does it all amount to in the end? The end. The end. Do you fear it? As her large dark feathered wings wrap around you, this last breath of life vanishes out into the air. I will pray to the dark angel that she cradles you with a mother’s love, when it’s time. When it’s time I hope you suffer no pain. I hope you like what’s on the other side. That it really was all about light and love and that good souls get to rest in eternal blissful peace.
No regrets. He sits in the silence of the rest of his days. He sits in who he was and everything he has become. He fades but I will not let go of the pieces. His memories are mine and I refuse to forget, even if he does. Freezing this frame, catching this glimpse, loving my disappearing grandfather.