Remembering and wanting to talk about it

 

As I sit looking at some pictures of my grandfather memories begin to stir. I try not to let my memories lead to thoughts that bring sadness and eventually tears. It’s hard not to though. I imagine it’s hard for most of us who have lost people we love. We want to hold on as long as we can to them. To some piece of them. That’s why we keep pictures and items that belonged to them or that they gave us.

Have you ever noticed that if you ask a friend about the person that died in their life they will sometimes go on and on about him or her? It’s nice though when people ask, isn’t it? Don’t we want to talk about them? If we know that we enjoy talking about our loved ones who have died, no matter how long ago it may have been, why do we cease asking others about their loved ones who have died?  Sure, we ask for the first couple of weeks how they are doing or about the deceased but after that we generally forget about it. I am as guilty of this as the next person.

Why is that?

Do we assume that after a few short weeks our friends are ok? Do we think the pain of the loss they have experienced have lessened in the matter of a 30 days? For some it takes months maybe even years to move through the grieving process. For others only weeks. But no matter how long it takes I am becoming convinced that people will always have some size hole that will never be completely filled. It might heal somewhat but there will always be a scar there and at any moment it could come a little undone.

Because we don’t forget it can be hard when people stop asking how we are doing or allowing us the freedom to talk about the person who died. But again, don’t we want to talk about them? It’s a way of remembering them. Of not forgetting those little details that make us smile.

My grandfather had a smile that could put you at ease and his eyes would twinkle. He gave really good hugs as well. And I think he was a good-lookin’ young man.

 He loved hot sauce. He ate it on everything except cereal. I’d ask him how he could stand to eat it and he’d look at me from across the table with a forkful of hot sauce covered peas and say, “Oh, it’s gooood.” Then he’d wink as he put the fork to his mouth, his eyes twinkling the whole time and a mischievous grin on his face. While at home for his funeral I got to wondering what all the fuss was about concerning hot sauce. Why in the world did he put it on almost everything? After trying it, I understand why. I have since started putting hot sauce on almost everything I eat, and oh, its goooood. 

He loved Christmas time. He wanted us all together. And together we were. He’d point out Santa Claus on the weather map during the 10:00 news and usher the grandkids to bed. He also liked the house to be hot during the winter. Not warm. Warm was not good enough. It would be sweltering. We’d all be sweating and he’d be putting more wood on the fire. I sometimes have thought my brother-in-law was going to pass out from a heat stroke.

 My grandparents eloped. They were only teenagers. They married in 1950. Sixty-three years together. Amazing is the word that comes to mind. And although you can’t see their faces, this is one of my favorite pictures of them. 
 Tom was neat. Everything was in its place. I don’t know if this was him or after 63 years with my grandmother he learned to be neat. Either way it was part of him. He always dressed well, too. See those khaki pants? He had another 20 just like them hanging in his closet, freshly pressed at the dry cleaners. His shirts had crisp lines down the sleeves. I bet not even washing could get those creases out. He was always clean shaven. The only time he was not dressed nicely was when he was cutting grass or working around his house. Then he wore his work pants, work shirt and a baseball cap that hung by the door.

Tom was a hard worker. Nobody could ever accuse him of laziness. He did several different jobs during his lifetime. One allowed him to travel through Asia.
He liked cutting the grass, working in the garden, and babying his chickens. He did not like helping my grandmother and great uncle with their dayliles. He loved his church. He liked coffee, Wheel of Fortune, Raisin Bran, sweet tea, ambrosia, Ford Rangers, reading and his recliner. He wore Old Spice cologne. He gave me my first vehicle. His old green Ford Ranger. To this day it is my favorite vehicle I’ve owned because every time I got in I smelled Old Spice and thought of Tom.
More than anything Tom loved his family. He had this ability to make you feel special to him. I think it’s because we were special to him. At the funeral I was thinking about my siblings and cousins. I realized that we each would probably say we had a close relationship with Tom. None of us will ever doubt his love for us.

Who have you lost that you sometimes yearn to talk about? Let me know, I’d love to hear about them.

Thanks for listening,
MacKenzie

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