At every week’s end, all of us ladies scattered across the globe, we gather here at The Grove to sit for a bit and share a piece of our hearts. Today, we’re here to share about the prompt “Story.” Here’s the piece of my heart…
I held him tight and whispered into his ear, “I love you.”
Before I turned to head to the car, I paused and looked back at him, his bony bowlegs sticking out from beneath his shorts as he hobbled away. Was this just one of our many good-byes? Or was it something more? A tear slid down my cheek. The fear in my gut told me this might be the last time I see him.
Turns out it was.
My grandfather fell just a few weeks before we were to be back in the States again. Just a few weeks before he would meet my children for the very first time. I did a frantic flight search, trying to figure out a way to make it back for one last good-bye. But the timing, the children, the moving, the money, it all just didn’t add up. There was no way to make it happen.
So I Skyped to his hospital room, all my family, aunts, uncles, cousins gathered round. I was there with them, but I wasn’t. I spoke out my goodbye from halfway around the world, hoping my words would make their way past his unconsciousness and into his heart.
I thanked him for his stories. I thanked him for telling us time and time again about the trolls living under the bridge, about Professor Weirdo and Dr. I-Am-Cooky, about the dinosaur bones he’d found in his field.
In my heart, from halfway around the world, I could hear his laugh, the one that Sesame Street’s Ernie copied from my grandpa, I’m sure of it. That laugh, it always followed his stories, the telling never ceased to delight him.
In that digital goodbye, I also silently thanked my grandpa for the other stories. The ones he lived but didn’t like to tell. The story of being a farm boy through the Great Depression. The story of swimming away from his ship as it sunk beneath the Japanese fire of World War II. And the story being a post-war traveling salesman, feeding a wife and seven kids.
We knew those stories were there…somewhere, but he would hardly ever speak of those times. We wondered at times, but you know the fear of prying, of finding secret skeletons in closets. These kept many stories forever unknown.
The stories he liked to tell were full of goofiness and his signature laughter. And while we may have rolled our eyes at hearing them for the five hundredth time, we adored that he told them and embraced that this is what he offered. The stories, both told and untold were what made him…him.
In the end, that is what we have. Stories. The ones we live and the ones we tell.
Perhaps one day, my grandchildren will gather round my hospital bed to say their goodbyes to me. I’m hoping I won’t leave them with questions about my stories of hardship and pain. I hope they’ll know the honest truth, the whole truth, and more importantly that they’ll see the glory of the One who met me in those moments.
And I hope to be like my grandfather, that the sound of my laughter will echo long in their ears. That whatever life brings, my people will know the sound of my laugh, that I found joy in the story.
What about you? What stories have left an imprint on you? Do you have a story that needs to be told?
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Word Art by Amy Davis Art Design