The wind whipped through the opening of the door, and the leaves fluttered. I flipped on the light, giving everything a yellow hue. I looked around the porch, before I pushed open the old screen door and stepped out. The wind picked up again, and my hair fluttered across my face as I stopped to push it out of my eyes. I could feel him, his presence, in everything around me.
My grandpa had just given me a hug, and I felt warm all over despite the chilly night air. I smiled, remember when I was a little girl and wouldn’t go anywhere near the backyard at night, much less alone. Tonight, I had my book and tea, as I wondered over to the chair that rocked silently. As if inviting me to sit and stay a while. I took the gladly took the invitation. I sat, opened my book with the full intent of reading; instead, I let my mind wonder.
All of those years I had sat in this spot, watching fish jump in the pond, my grandpa on a tractor mowing and baling hay, and watching for deer as I got older. Just as many times, I had sat at the pond and looked up at the big white house on the hill. Always seeing my grandmother and usually my mother on this very porch watching as we fished, or rode four-wheelers, usually off of the trail, which always got us a talking to when we finally went back at dark, covered in dirt and dying for something to drink.
Even now, almost 19 years to the day he passed, I find myself wondering what he would think of the woman I have become. I have worked hard, and have often been disappointed in life and love; but, I have always forged on. I crack jokes about being an English major, not a math major, and I know for a fact this statement would earn a grunt and headshake from him. He was practical, used logic in everything, and solved problems. I, on the other hand, use my heart and emotions to base a lot of decisions, and use a creative stance when solving major problems. All of those arguments over homework, now make perfect sense. I look back on them fondly, not with animosity, but with love.
Memories of my grandpa always have one of two reactions, a smile or tears. I am so happy that most of my memories are now bringing more smiles than tears. To me, this means I am growing up, coping with the loss a little better than before. I am learning to love the memories and enjoy them, not just ache from deep down in my soul when I think of him. I am thankful that I can now think of him without pain and heartache, but with smiles and laughter.
There still are days, and I am sure there will be more, where I will shed tears over years lost with him. I will have anger because I did not get to spend more time with him; he didn’t get to see me grow into a woman; and he will never meet my children, and paint the “prize” Easter egg for them. They will never have memories of my grandfather, and this does make me sad. However, every time I feel the slight stir of air when I step onto the porch, I will know that is he, and has always been with me. I will cherish that slight second that I feel warm, and smile lovingly, because that is me hugging him back.