“Raindrops keep falling on my head.”
That same tune repeats in my mind
And rouses those thoughts and memories.
Mouth agape, as if in awe at the heavens.
Skin cold with a sallow tinge of green.
A fonder memory holds my thoughts instead,
When his skin was a healthy pink.
The diner every Sunday was our destination,
But no ice in his water, please,
Though the waitress often forgot,
And saturate his pancakes with the sweetest syrup.
He would smile at my excess powdered sugar –
A mountain of splendor.
“Thanks Grandpa for breakfast,” we all would say.
Often, I complained of the space he occupied in the claustrophobic car.
I revoke all of those naïve complaints,
As a bitter taste haunts my tongue again.
I will douse that bitter fire with more tender sugar.
Every morning, I awoke to the smell of cinnamon and raisin toast.
Though ever so simple, I smile at such a thought,
When times were easier.
I could hear the weights scraping against the boards from the basement when he exercised;
A fonder time.
I remember when the initial fear sank in.
Suddenly, we stopped going out for breakfast.
He no longer joined us for outings.
The thoughts of his heavy breaths
Reduced me to tears long before the call.
I knew it would soon come.
The thought that I could do nothing to help
Reduced me to tears aplenty.
The strain on my father, the strongest man alive,
The fact I could only watch the frail petal spiraling down,
Brought the bitterest taste.
And then, on a day that I truly believed
Could not be plagued by tears,
I was told of his long pauses and immobility,
And the sorrow pulled me from paradise.
There I waited. Watching. Waiting.
Death’s rattle held his lungs,
Setting its timer.
“I love you, Grandpa.
Going to Denny’s with you,
The times you would watch me play games,
The sound of the mouse clicking when you’d play solitaire,
During a moment of peace with pizza and salad,
We all flocked to his side.
One pulse, and then his suffering ended.
“We’d better make some calls.”
We buried our heads into hands and shoulders.
The reality sank in.
“I’ll never go out to lunch with him again.”
“You don’t know that,” replied a consoling voice.
The tears abruptly stopped,
But promptly started again at the sight of my weeping father.
Tears pouring out his eyes were new to me.
“I hope I mean the same for you
As he did for me.”
“You mean the world to me, daddy.”
I counted my blessings;
At least I got to know my grandpa.
A bitter thought waved to me from afar;
Someday, it will be my own father.
Not now, not for a long time.
A sweet idea caressed me:
Many more years to come to cherish my father.
Grandpa no longer suffers;
This I can smile at.
We will dine again in heaven, Grandpa.
One day, we will.