The Ones We Lost

With the passing of my grandpa on March 5, I realized I had lost three out of my four grandparents.  Reflecting on his life led me to also reflect on the lives and deaths of my other grandfather and grandma that I have lost.  

 

The one who left first.

Slowly evaporating, breathless among tubes

antiseptic machines

as her husband told and retold

their first meeting in Texas

when he was a charismatic flyboy

and I paced hospital corridors,

wondering how Christmas

would now work.

Her death

baptized me into new acquaintance

with grief.

The one we lost unexpectantly.

Three missed calls to inform me a

cardiac arrest was,

all that was needed to disrupt

a family dependent on a

rounded-belly, good-humored

firework-buying, patriarch.

After the second death,

I practiced emotional eating

on the kitchen floor

trying to forget the last unrealistic look of him,

a painted body in a casket.

 

The one missing years before death.

Reverting to the bygone years

of his former life,

the present day

and our faces, now just

wisps across the synapses.

I entered the third death

guilty for the lack of time

I had given,

desperately trying to

remember the details of when he last

remembered me.

 

The one who remains.

An infinitely complex and compelling

woman, walking a finite tightrope

between desperate longing to join

her parted beloved and

the rest of us, here, watching her,

wanting her here,

anxiously trying to buyoff

death’s distillation.

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