A Forgotten Memory

February 22, 2017
By , Ypsilanti, MI

I looked at my grandparent’s grave one last time before mom and I went back to the car.  It was the weekend before Christmas and we decided to go to the cemetery and put a wreath, a simple pine branch ring with a red ribbon on their grave.  Usually Grandpa would go with us but this year it was different.  The car had gotten cold so my mom started the car but we didn’t go anywhere.  There was a moment of silence before mom said anything.

“Are there any memories of Grandpa that you want to share or talk about?”

I tried really hard to think of some but nothing came to mind.  There were just too many memories and I wasn’t in the right mindset to talk about Grandpa at the moment.  It seemed like any other night when he died in his sleep.  His death changed everything and I still hadn’t fully accepted the fact that he was gone.

“I can’t really think of anything right now,” I said looking everywhere but her. 

Out the car window to the right, I could see the dead grass and all the graves covered in Christmas decor with tall pine trees everywhere.  To the left there were condominiums that I always thought were out of place for a cemetery.

“You know, I remember the first time Grandpa held you.  He was so scared, but when I finally just put you in his arms, Mariana, he had biggest smile I’ve ever seen from him in my entire life!  Ever since that day, you and him have been inseparable.”

I could feel a lump in my throat starting to form.  I loved this story except it always gets me emotional.  But for some reason I didn’t want her to stop telling me memories of Grandpa and she didn’t.  I was overwhelmed with a calmness that I hadn’t felt in a long time.  Everything that happened this past year was harder to do since Grandpa died and left holes in my family’s life.

A couple of stories later my mom stopped and pulled out her phone.  I saw her open the photo app and started scrolling.

“Do you want to see a video?  I completely forgot about it until now.”

Not knowing what was going to happen I nodded my head.  I watched as she tapped the video then handed the phone to me.  My heart stopped when I saw Grandpa sitting in his recliner by the window in his room, the afternoon light hitting his figure.  I hit play as my heart started beating again, but faster than normal.
There he was, sitting there with what looked like a pink card with a white border.  I suddenly recognized it.  It was a card from me to mom from when I went to a music camp during the summer last year.  He was reading it.  I heard the door open in the background and the voice of my brother saying hi.  Grandpa looked up and greeted him back.

When he did that I could see his face.  I couldn’t believe I forgot exactly how he looked.

Grandpa kept reading and then I watched as he flipped the card over.  It was the part where I wrote that I made first chair.  He finished reading, looked up and gave the camera a big smile and started chuckling and the video ended.  It broke and lifted up my heart at the same time.  How could this simple video like this do this to me?  I felt tears building up in my eyes but I didn’t know if they were tears of happiness or sadness.

I looked up at my mom and reached over the counsel between the passenger and driver seats and hugged her.  Her chest began shaking and heard a sob escaped from her.  I started crying too.

The moment Grandpa smiled in the video was the way I imagined he looked like when he first held me.  That bond between the two of us was very strong and now I felt empty without him.  We sat for a while longer just remembering what this amazing person meant to us.

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