Saturday, March 19, 2011

This Was the Man

I remember the last time I saw my grandfather. Our family was on a trip to the lower-48 and drove over to he and my grandmother's home for a visit. He was so frail sitting in the blue rocking chair by the front window. It was the same chair he always sat in to watch Star Search when I was a child.

Our family stood around him for a picture and I wanted to reach out to him. I placed my hand on his shoulder. He raised his hand to mine and tenderly placed it upon his cheek and I struggled to smile for the picture while holding back the tears.

This was the man who took me to the Mini dome and taught me to drive well before it was legal. This was the man who taught me my baseball and badminton skills, and how to skillfully touch up paint on a used vehicle. This was the man who never lived a lavish life but provided a warm home for his wife he loved so dearly. I knew he loved me.

That day he reluctantly and humbly shared his old black and white photos with us of days gone by. Oh how handsome he was. He was a flight engineer and had scars showing where shrapnel had found it's way through his leg on one mission. Those were the days you flew without instruments and sometimes ran out of gas before you returned home. He was a hero.

Soon came the time to depart and we all hugged and said our good-byes. Our family loaded up in my father's truck and as we backed away I watched my loving grandma and grandpa standing at the front door ready, again as they always had, to wave until we were far out of sight.

Suddenly I knew this would be the last time I would see him. I asked my dad to turn back into the driveway and I ran to my grandpa. I hugged him tightly in my arms, then held his cheeks in mine as I told him for the last time that I loved him. His eyes were so soft, so loving. I will never forget the look in his eye, as if he knew it was the last time as well.

How grateful I am to know where he is now and that he and my grandmother are happily together once again. Just as we all came into this world, we must also depart at some point. It is not good-bye, only farewell until we meet again. I look forward to hugging my grandparents again in their perfect, resurrected bodies. They gave me life and I owe them all that I have.