Grandpa looked out over the crowd of people attending his grandson’s funeral wake. He recognized a few but most he had never seen before. He wondered how in such a short life of twenty two years does one retain and develop so many friends. Of course, they were not all friends of his departed grandson. Some were friends, some were past classmates, a few were co-workers, but still the little room was very full of mourners.
They said reported the driver had been texting when she had hit his grandson’s car. The young girl never felt a thing, they said. But grandpa knew her parents were hurting as was his son and daughter in law. “It’s all such a waste,” was all everyone kept repeating. The young girl’s parents had come to the wake and as they passed through the receiving line grandpa had the strongest urge to say something, anything, encouraging. But he didn’t. He just shook the man’s hand and hugged the young girl’s mother’s neck and let them pass on, grandpa mostly just stared at the floor.
Grandpa just kept telling himself to let it go, let the pain go, later would be the time to deal with the heartache and come to some kind of understanding of everything. After all, how do you verbalize the loss? How do you explain that grandpa had waited until late in life to have his son, his only son? How do you describe the feeling when your son has a son, and you know the family name will outlive you?
Grandpa thought back on how much of his precious retirement funds he had contributed to get his son and grandson through school. There had not been enough insurance when his wife had died, and who knows, she might have lived longer with a better health policy. There always seemed to be time for everything, a plan for everything, everything but dying. There had not been time for planning there.
A little later grandpa’s son pulled him aside and asked to speak privately with him in the room next door. “Daddy, I know this is killing you as much as it is us and I want to know are you alright?”
“Son, I am a little bewildered and confused right now but I’m fine, I worry about you and Mary more than myself.”
“We’re fine daddy, you know Mary didn’t show very much until very late in her pregnancy with Henry, do you remember?”
“Yes I do remember that, I had trouble believing she was pregnant at all.”
“Maybe this isn’t the proper place to tell you this and Mary and I are still not real sure how or why things happen like they do, but Mary has been pregnant now for almost seven months and we are having a boy!”
Grandpa was silent for a very long time. Finally he said, “How is Mary?”
“Mary is fine, her doctor said though she is forty one she should not have any problems. But did you hear me daddy? We are having a son!”
Grandpa searched his son’s face; all he could see was his dear departed wife and their short life together. He slowly took his son’s hands and still searching his face managed to say, “take care of Mary son, take care of Mary.”
I’ll be right back.