You are not alone in this.

Yo! Muchacho!

That’s how every phone conversation with my grandfather “gramps” has started for the last 15 years. It warms my heart when he picks up the phone (after always letting it go to the answering machine first) and I hear the biggest, loudest “YO!” every single time I call.

It won’t be too long now before the answering machine won’t click over to his voice. He’s struggling with life. He’s lived a very long and hard 85 years and I think he’s ready to close the door and head home to his God and his bride. His years show on his face, his hands, and lately, his mind.

It makes me sad seeing the man who used to bounce me on his knee now struggle to hold his 9 month old great grandson. But I won’t dwell on his physical being because I know that on the inside, he is still a strong, proud man. That while his physical body may be deteriorating, his soul and his spirit will always be  standing strong up top of a mountain with nothing but the troubles he defeated well below him.

That’s the gramps I will always remember. His legacy will be one that will make his great grandsons proud. My oldest, Jack, bears his name “Bonifacio.” I will never forget telling gramps that we used his name in Jack’s name. His smile was one I will always cherish. Many people in school may not understand Jack’s middle name, but when he’s old enough to understand-he will be proud.

Gramps is more than a grandfather to me. He’s one of two men in my life who have always been there, along with  my step-dad. He filled a large, father shaped hole, when my father left. I grew up in the house he built with his own hands for the first five years of my life. He took me fishing, sang Johnny Cash songs to me, and made me pancakes and eggs with a big coke, placed it all on a tv tray in front of the tv so I could watch wrestling-all in the name of getting me to go to church.

I am dreading the phone call. I am hoping that when he goes, he goes peacefully in his sleep with no pain. No suffering. I am sad knowing that either my mom or my aunt will walk in and find him after he has gone to be with the Lord. My heart breaks knowing this. My heart also feels guilt not being there with him.  Spending two days in Cozad shouldn’t be enough…it wasn’t enough. But my life, my family, my job, my responsibilities need me to be in Lincoln.

I hate that the last two times I’ve left Cozad, I’ve left with my eyes filled with tears not knowing if that was the last time we’d do our secret handshake. I feel guilty because I don’t want to say goodbye to him again. It hurts too much. But I hope that in what is likely the sunset of his life, he feels loved-that he’s leaving this earth to go over his hill and see, what he will find there, with grace in his heart and flowers in her hair.

My gramps is more than a grandfather-he’s my hero. He’s who I want to be.

Mi amigo, mi muchacho.

Yo!

Mumford and Sons – Timshel

Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life
And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And I will tell the night
Whisper, “Lose your sight”
But I can’t move the mountains for you

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