Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Look of a New Widower

When my grandmother died- in her 80's, but still quite unexpectedly, she did it in the classiest way really. She got out of bed in the morning, set her hair, and got back in bed and died.

My grandfather woke up next to her.

Like us I think, they had a true love story that began when they were both taking a typing class at a local high school. My grandfather asked her if she wanted to go for a soda. She did. And she recounted that night to me, how he walked her home and she saw her mother, my great grandmother, looking out behind the curtain of a window in the house.

I was in my early 20's when she died, and as the baby in our family, very close to her. I grieved deeply for the first time in my life. You were there for me then Dan, even though we'd only been dating for about a year. I can still picture you vividly as you walked into the funeral home. You'd taken lots of different public transportation, buses and trains to get there. You were wearing a navy blazer. You looked skinnier than I remembered you being then, but I felt happy to see you.

I think it's because you do this in Korean, but I loved Dan, how you called my grandparents, "Grandma" and "Grandpa" even when you first met them. Thank you for seeing me through three of their deaths. Your presence was always such a comfort.

I was thinking about the time before the wake and funeral, when my parents had brought my grandfather to our home to take care of him. It was the first time I saw him after she died. He was sitting on the couch with the air of 1940's sophistication he always carried-in a button down sweater and dress pants with his legs crossed at the ankles and his hands folded together on his lap. When our eyes met, he shrugged his shoulders just slightly, raised his eyebrows slowly, and pursed his lips together just a little as if to say, "Well, what am I gonna do?" Later he told me how he looked over when he woke up, and "she was gone." He knew it immediately when he saw her.

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