Meeting Grandpa Doug
There were so many times this Christmas I felt weepy: during our family church's candle light ceremony with my baby in my arms and my husband's arm around us, waking up Christmas morning and seeing snow out the window, and taking our son to meet my dad.
The snow was ankle-deep when we got to the cemetery, so it felt a little like trudging through the wilderness to get to the grave, in a good way. The three of us stood in front of my dad's headstone and just kind of looked at it. Raz and I split his gloves between us and brushed snow off the stone. I've learned I'm not good at talking to dead people—I've stopped trying to force myself to speak out loud to my dad if I feel weird about it. I like to visit and touch the stone and think a minute or thirty, but I'm not really down to sit and chat. Moving past what I thought I should be doing has helped me want to visit more. And I want to visit as much as I can.
So as we all stood there, I talked to Oliver. I told him that if I were to talk to his grandpa, I would probably start crying more than I wanted to. I told him it's okay to be sad, and it's okay to cry. I told him I wasn't good at talking to his grandpa and that that was okay, too. I told him we would visit his grandpa and I would tell him stories, show him pictures. I told Oliver his grandpa would love him and he would hug him tightly. I told him he was the son I always knew I wanted for my dad.
I had asked Raz to take a few photos of us so I would have the memories and as we turned back to find him, he was teary, too. I love how deeply he feels these moments and I am so grateful to have him as a partner, especially for visits like these.
I want Oliver to know my dad. I want him to feel his presence in his life. I've realized that all I can really do is my best to help him, to teach him that some people go to Heaven early, and that even if they can't hold you tightly on earth, their arms are still around you.
Maybe it will make a difference. It could very well not. All I know right now is on his first Christmas our son met my dad and I started teaching him more about where his mommy came from, and I'm glad I did. It was a Christmas gift I will remember always.