|Blogs > julietofverona > poem at the heart of the world|
The reason for the season.
The reason for the season.
I'm very fortunate - I'm 33 years old and the only close family member I have lost is my grandfather - "Grampa Bob" as he has always been known.
Easter Sunday, almost two years ago, he passed away. As a child of divorce - parents separated at the age of five, and little to no contact with my biological father over the remainder of my life - my grandfater was a very central figure in my life. Always doting on me, telling silly anecdotes about me as a child to anyone who would listen. He was famous for his rib-crushing hugs. He hugged so hard that it hurt and you could still feel it 10 minutes later. And his reading glasses were always slung around his neck on a cord so when he crushed you in his arms, his glasses would squash against your collar bone. It was with that sort of enthusiasm - joy to the extreme - that he faced life. He was an avid cyclist, bicycling dozens of miles on a daily basis. He'd had a couple of minor heart attacks, bypass surgery, but nothing slowed him down.
Until Easter weekend, 2004. Gramma was up in Canada visiting grandkids. Grampa was supposed to appear at my aunt's house for breakfast Easter morning and he never appeared. After an hour or two of phone calls and worry, my aunt and uncle elected to drive to Grampa's house to see if everything was okay. When they got there, his car was in the driveway. They tried the door. It was locked. My aunt peered in through the window, and there he was, on the floor, one hand reaching up onto the coffee table beside him. He'd passed away the previous morning somewhere in the midst of his morning routine. He'd ridden his stationary bike - his miles and time were logged. His breakfast was on the stove - burner not on, thankfully. He was alone, and it took more than 24 hours for anyone to notice. Grampa would never hold that against any of us, given his independance and high level of activity ... not to mention his loving and forgiving nature. But to this day it still bothers every last one of us.
It was very, very hard on the family. Each of us feel his absence almost every day. We call each other if he happens to appear to one of us in a dream. We tell Grampa Bob stories all the time, the same way he told stories about us. This past spring I decided I wanted to plant a rose garden. I chose to plant it on the anniversary weekend of Grampa Bob's death. I dubbed it the "Grampa Bob Memorial Rose Garden." My family begs photos of it every month or two. I live on the other side of the US from the rest of my family so they've only been able to see it flourish through photos.
Anyway. The reason for this long winded story.
I came home this afternoon to an FTD box on my front porch. I knew better than to think that my husband sent me flowers. Too curious to allow a box from FTD to sit for two days (it might need water, right?) I opened it up. Inside was a note from my aunt and her family. "Merry Christmas! Here are some roses for you to enjoy and then plant in Grampa Bob's Memorial Rose Garden!" And inside is a pot of the sweetest miniature red roses that I can transplant into the garden when the weather is warmer.
I know for many that Christmas ends up being this big commercial spectacle. You have this and this and this for that person, and these for things for the other person, and six shopping bags full of obligatory gifts for the spouse to make up for all that you've put them through in the past year. But what is most meaningful to me is that one gift that might not have even cost much at all and is instead rich with a personal sort of significance, like these roses I received today. The irony is these came from the most materialistic branch of my family tree. An aunt who, for my 30th birthday a few years ago, gifted me with this ridiculously expensive bracelet that I would likely never wear but she simply had to buy because they were all the rage amongst the women of the ton in her little sphere of social influence. How wonderful that she put the proper sort of thought into this gift.
The best thing about the roses is I feel like Grampa Bob is here with me for Christmas. Thank you, dear aunt, for the best gift of all. The gift of love.
12/23/2005 11:34 am
that's very sweet, juliet. thanks for sharing!|