At 11:15 today, Grandpa died. He was comfortable. He was not alone. Perhaps he needed to leave his home to let go; my mom and aunt had moved him to hospice yesterday. They had decided to have one last Christmas Eve together and then do the move the next day. He had to be transported by ambulance- he was too weak. I had talked to both my mom and my aunt and had planned to go up to Traverse on Monday, though wasn't sure what I'd do with the kids. I knew I had to get there. I knew it felt urgent. At some level, I think I knew today was his last day. I'm sorry I didn't get there to see him, for him to hear me, to sit by his bed in the silence and be with him. The other day, when I mailed our Christams card, I wondered who would open it if he couldn't.
It is not just saying goodbye to Grandpa, it is saying goodbye to the house, which will be sold before long. That house is 24 years of memories. Countless memories. Coffee on the 'coffee deck', playing dolls in the basement, tennis, petosky stones, the fountain, the gardens, walks on Nanagosa Trail, Suttons Bay, Boones', Bailey's, playing on the beach in front of the house, all the wonderful books, falling asleep downstairs in the twin beds, me in one, Jen in the other, sand in my toes, building the fort in the woods, cherries, garden walks, visting neighbors, Christmas with the whole family and gifts that went on for two days, and Grandma. The whole house was Grandma and Grandpa, and walking in it always felt like being hugged. It was everything solid, warm, gentile, and lovely. She died six years ago, but the house still had the effect of walking into Grandma's arms.
I guess I need to walk into her arms one more time. I need to feel the presence of the love that always was the house, to revisit all the memories. I need to see where her pad of paper was by the phone, to smell the Dial soap in the bathroom, to see her cook books, to see Grandpa's desk, his workshop, the porch, the dining room table, the twin beds, the beach. I need to see it all, to feel it a final time, to say goodbye, and to let it all go. Goodbye Grandpa, Goodbye Grandma, Goodbye Uncle Todd. I love you all so very much. Thank you for your love and for the family you built. You will always be in my heart and I'll share you with the hearts of my children. I love you, peace be with you.