All the kids asked what I wanted for Christmas weeks ago. What could I say? I asked for a set of rain guards for my car windows and a pair of opera glasses. Your binoculars are too heavy and awkward for me to hold for long. You’ll be amused to know I didn’t get either, lol. Not that I care. They are nothing I can’t buy for myself.
Here’s what I really wanted:
I want to hear your voice, “Come here, Girly Girl”. I want to feel your arms around me, gathering me close. I want to rest my head on your chest and listen to your heart ticking away like a clock, assuring me your valve is working. I want to touch your soft beard.
I want to smell you, the same cologne you’ve used since the early seventies. So many times I wanted to be absorbed into your body, like osmosis. I wanted to melt into you, literally, until there was one person instead of two. I wanted to be inside you where I would be safe and protected always. You always understood when I said that to you; Never looked at me as though I was a nut, just held me closer.
I want to be in the cellarway of my mother’s house, standing on the second step so we are face to face. I want to feel your hand cupping the back of my head as you kiss me senseless. I want to see the humor and satisfaction in your eyes when I come up for air. I think you were proud you could reduce me to a puddle of goo.
I want to see the smile in your eyes and hear you snort when you are trying not to laugh at me for doing something stupid. I want to hear you laugh out loud when my jeans fall off because I refuse to get rid of my ‘fat’ clothes. I love them and won’t get rid of them until they are rags, which isn’t far off, but you get it. “You might want to think about getting a belt,” you say as you pull them up for me because my hands are full. “Too bad you bought new panties,” you sigh.
I want to feel you kiss my hand, the back and then the palm before you cup it to your cheek and tell me I mean more to you than anything in the world. I want to feel you reach back and pat my ass before going to sleep as though to reassure yourself that I’m there. I want to slip my hand under your pillow in the night, knowing I won’t disturb you, but the weight of your body tells me you’re next to me.
Most of all I want to take the memories and pictures in my mind and print them out like photographs so I’ll never forget what it felt like, how loved I was, how much I loved you.
I look at the forty plus years of ornaments we’ve collected and the gold angel wings we put on the tree last year in memory of our parents. I never imagined we’d need a set for you before the next Christmas came around. I hope I never have to put another pair of wings on the tree. The kids can do that when I’m gone.
We didn’t decorate much this year, just the bare necessities for the grandkids not to notice. No manger, no village, no wreath on the door. We didn’t even light the big tree outside that now looks more like a squash than a tree when the lights are on because we never got around to fixing them before you left in such a hurry.
I sort of feel like it’s pretty un-Christian like of me, not doing all those things and not going to church Christmas Eve. I just couldn’t honey, I was too emotional. I know I should have been celebrating Christ’s birth and all that means regarding us being together again in Heaven, but I’ll just have to pray for forgiveness. It’s not like I haven’t done worse things, like the skinny dipping incident after Carolyn’s wedding. Lord knows I prayed about that for weeks.
So, I’m pretty sure you already know all these things, like how much I love and miss you, and how lonely I am without you, but I also figure there’s not much you can do about it. I’m kind of on my own with this one baby, not something I’m used to for sure. I guess I’ll either survive without you or I won’t. There are no other options that I can see. Some days I feel like I’m going to be okay, others, like today, my heart hurts so much I think I’m on my way even as I type. In any case I won’t know any more than you did.
I try to think if there is anything we’d have done differently had we known that morning would be our last. I don’t think there is. Even now it sometimes seems as though I dreamt it and it’s not really true. Oh how I wish that were so.
I have to assume you’re gloriously happy in heaven and seriously, I don’t resent you for that at all. After everything you suffered there isn’t a man who deserves it more than you do honey. I just wish there had been more I could have done for you down here. Holding you while you shook in agony nearly killed us both. There I was trying to get my arms around you to stop you from shaking and there you were patting my hand trying to comfort me. What a pair, huh? I’m glad you were not in that kind of pain ‘that’ day. I’m glad it was quick and I don’t have to remember seeing fear or uncertainty in your eyes.
I get up early now. Funny huh considering you were always sunlight and I was moonlight? I used to hate it when you would throw open the curtains and tell me to “Wake up, it’s gonna be a golden day.” I know I threatened you with assorted forms of torture as I pulled the covers over my head.
Now I get up to watch the day break. I can’t really call it sunrise. There is no glorious burst of color over the horizon here in the northeast, at least not often. No, it’s sort of a gradual lightening from black to gray. I sit in your chair. I can’t stand to see it empty. I wait for the birds to become visible in the dim light as they come to the feeders.
The other day Caitie was up with me as we quietly waited for daybreak. “Grampa had the best chair in the house,” she said. “He could see down the road through the huge picture window and see the birds as they make their way from the pine trees to the feeders. And he could see you, Gramma.”
It never occurred to me that I was part of your view as you were part of mine. We did a good job with her, Bill. She has heart and empathy. Her words are eloquent in a way she doesn’t even realize.
So, it’s on to the New Year. I don’t expect anything different, any miracles. I think we had ours, for finding you, loving you was surely more than I deserved. From 16 to 61 you took care of me in every possible way. I’m not doing a very good job of that without you, but maybe I’ll get better. I think you taught me everything I need to know about love, about life, I guess my heart needs to heal a little before I can put all that good ‘country boy’ knowledge to use.
I love and miss you, my love, more than words can say. Merry Christmas.
Your Girly Girl
P.S. B came this morning with a gift he and Dawn forgot to bring yesterday. A small pair of binoculars.