This is my fourth of five responses to Tilda Swift’s blogging challenge. I hope you find these interesting and I encourage you to join in the challenge. If not, at least comment on mine.
Letter to A Ghost
Dear Granddaddy Russell,
It is hard to believe thirty years has passed since you died. I still remember the last time I saw you, at your house in Weber City. We all came together as we usually did a couple of times a month, with James, Mary Ann, Kim, Karen, you , Granny, Mom. Dad and Kevin. I will never forget my mother crying when we left. Her medical knowledge even then was so good that she knew what was coming.
You were the first grandparent I ever lost and the one I most wish i could catch up with. You would be very proud of me, that I am sure. I graduated with a college degree, found the right girl to marry and have a really good job. Your great-grandchildren, the ones I am responsible for are 17 and 14 now. Isaac would make you feel like a midget! Meredith would smother you in hugs, not just because all her grandfathers are gone now, but just because she is…well, Meredith.
I am sure you know who is no longer here. Although I have no true idea of what things are like in heaven, the best I can imagine is a collecting of family. As you know I am the last of my four. It is better now that I have had a couple of years to accept the change. My wife, Libby, works hard to bridge the gap. You would like her. She is straightforward and loves me no matter what I do, and you remember I had the tendency to “prowl in drawers” as Granny Russell used to put it.
I don’t remember if you were much of a reader, but I do remember magazines in the wood bowl like thing at the side of the couch in the front room where the television was. I still have that. I think you would want to read my writing just because it was mine. That’s just the way you were. Everyone in Clinchport knew who your grandchildren were and how you loved us.
Clinchport is so lonely now. The flood of 1977, the one where you slept in your car just above the rail tressel as you tried your best to conduct your mayoral duties basically wiped the town away. It is such a shame, I loved coming to see you there as a child. Now it is just a few scattered houses and a road sign.
Time goes on, though and with the busyness of my life it would probably be hard to slow down and enjoy time with you if you were still alive. I look forward to catching up to you some day. I will look for the best :loafing” spot and expect to see you and Ray Stone there.
I Love You,
Hello Joe, what a lovely letter. And I’m so glad that another reader found it moving. 🙂 I like these things to spread around WP and touch people’s hearts. So much of what people write about barely skims the surface.
Your letter is beautiful and you are lucky to have such fond memories of your granddad. 🙂 I really love that you believe that we will all meet up in heaven with the ones who have already passed on. I believe that too. I’ve done a fair amount of reading about people who died for a while before being resuscitated, and while there are some who say that there was “nothing” (perhaps they saw something bad and are embarrassed to tell), the majority of people seem to report something quite lovely.
I’ve read so many accounts from around the world of the same experience. We’ve all heard about the floating out of the body, looking down from the ceiling, a tunnel, a bright light, but another *very* common experience is that one or two family members who are already deceased come to meet you. It’s like they are waiting to meet us on the other side, so that we make that journey, the crossover, to the other side with our loved ones instead of alone.
I always hold onto that idea. And I’ve told my dad not to be afraid when his time comes because his mother will be there waiting for him, I guarantee it. I know she went to heaven (she’s the one I wrote a letter to), and I say to him, “In your last moments, don’t be afraid. There *is* something beyond this life and when you feel yourself letting go, just think of your mother because you will soon see her kind, loving, smiling face as she is waiting there to hold her son again.” I do believe that with all my heart, and I do believe that your granddad will there to meet you too (one day far, far away in the distant future, not for many years!) 🙂
A very touching letter.
Wow this was very powerful and emotional to read evident in the tears that fell from my eyes. The way you wrote this, i felt as If i was part of the family and personally knew your granddaddy. Images flooded my head when reading this, from your grandfather in his car, to the massive flood( i wasn’t even born yet when that flood occurred), to a desolate town that used to once thrive. So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this intimate recollection. It was quite moving.
Joe, i just read your latest blog in the Swift Challenge and was quite moved. I have a bit of a different perspective regarding grandparents. Growing up I never knew either of my grandfathers. Now, in adulthood, I have been blessed with two grandsons, born just a few months apart. Through happenstance my older grandson and his mom lives with my wife and me. Every day that goes by is a complete joy the likes of which I would have found hard to understand a year ago before he was around. So, my perspective of grandfatherhood is that I wish to give my grandsons the kinds of memories that it is clear your grandfather gave to you and your family: memories of unconditional love, acceptance and, well…family.
thanks for sharing your memories with all of us.