My grandpa passed away this past Thursday.
But we've been losing him for awhile now. He has spent less and less time with us in the present day and more time living in the past or simply sleeping.
I remember the man who was really my grandpa - the soul inside the sleeping body.
He recited poems he'd memorized and told great stories. He was a quick wit, and you'd have to stay on your toes to keep up with him. Sometimes he'd get this twinkle in his eye, and you'd know he was "pulling your leg." He loved plants and gardening - pruning bushes, caring for his roses, sitting outside and drinking in the landscape.
He used to own a house with pyracantha vines covering the wall outside the front door. When I was little, I was fascinated by the bright red berries, and someone told me that people couldn't eat them, but animals could.
That gave me the idea (helped along, no doubt, by Grandpa's excellent story-telling and my wild imagination) that at night all these animals would wander through Grandpa's yard looking for food. And that they depended on us to pull some of the berries off the vine and scatter them around the yard for them. So that's exactly what we did every time I went over there as a child. We referred to this little routine as "feeding the critters."
More recently, when he lived with my parents and his mind was playing tricks on him, there was a period when he kept asking for a ride home. "I don't care who takes me there, I want to go home!"
I'd try to reassure him, "You are home. See, your room is there. We're all here with you. You're home." He remained unconvinced, and it broke my heart every time.
Today - even though the loss aches inside of me and tears are blurring my vision as I try to type - I am so glad to know that finally Grandpa's mind is
as sharp as sharper than ever. And, finally, he knows that he is truly Home.
Photos were all taken by members of my family. All rights reserved.