Wednesday, August 24, 2005

down memory lane

I was about four years old when my grandfather, Albert, died of a complicated illness that eventually ended in a heart-attack. I don't really remember much about him, except that he drank a lot, his house smelled funny and he had a cute little white dog named Bill that my family took care of after he died. Looking back on that time, it seems so odd, because I remember him as being ancient, but he was only fifty-one. And my four year old assumptions must have jaded me because when I picture him, I still see an aged old-man, but in actuality he was really very young. Being as small as I was when he died, all I remember is not understanding what was happening. I knew that he was gone and he'd left everything behind, but that was about it. Papa Albert worked for the state, and after he died, I wore his name tag around the house for weeks, along with his hat from the Marines, but the reality of the situation had yet to sink in. When we were cleaning out his house, I remember finding a red kimono in a closet and coming out with it wrapped around me. My mom got upset and only later did I find that Papa Albert brought that garment back from WWII and he let my mom wear it when she was a little girl. Certainly at the age I was, I couldn't grieve. But looking back, I realize what a young man my grandfather was and how much life he could have had to live. If he were alive today, he would be just 72. I think of all the experiences that could have taken place in those twenty years and now I grieve - not for the grandfather that I knew, but for the one I didn't.
posted by Christie