When my grandfather died, I sat in this chair and cried for two hours. I’d just turned ten and this chair was so much bigger then. I cried for my mom, because I’d never seen her swear and cry before and, I mean, he was her dad, you know. I think I understood that for the first time that midsummer afternoon. It just hadn’t occurred to me before that she would never stopped needing her father, even, or maybe especially, when she became a mother herself.
Gramma and Grampa lived just up the street and around two corners. It never occurred to me that it wouldn’t always be that way.
And then Grampa was gone and I was sitting in his chair and he would never be here again. Already, I couldn’t conjure up his voice in my head. I only remembered the funny clucking noises he made as he slid his head side to side on his neck. He was a quiet man, to say the least, and I was a quiet girl. I’d never really talked to him, and now I never would. I would never know him and what made him happy and what made him sad. I’d never know why he was so quiet and how he fell in love with Gramma and how he felt leaving his wife and baby daughter at home during the war. I wish we would have talked. I wish it would have occurred to me before that day that he was a man first, before being Grampa, before even being a dad. I suddenly desperately ached to talk to him one last time and ask him all these questions. What was it like have cancer? What was it like to start over in a new country? What was your favourite food? Colour? Song? What was my mom like when she was my age? I had a million questions that I’d never thought to ask when I had the chance.