I have a splitting headache - evidence of what this day has held. After Jackson's morning nap we drove out to Daddaw and Madelyn's house to be with my mom and whoever else had made their way over. When I pulled into the driveway I was served my first dollop of loss. Daddaw was always the first one out the door and you wouldn't have your seat belt off before he was standing there waving, ready to give you a kiss. There was no one today.
Inside, the house was still warm from his presence. The Scrabble board game and dictionary were off to the side of the kitchen table. One of his index cards with a Scripture written on it was laying next to a lamp. There was a note in his handwriting taped to the computer screen that said, "We are God's ambassadors." I love my grandpa's distinctive handwriting. It had gotten a little shaky lately but it still had that look.
There was a rose in a vase on the counter top. Madelyn told me he would cut a fresh flower for her every day from the garden and that he would act real sneaky while he was doing it. I guess he had cut that very one two days ago. I wondered if I should dry it for her.
I didn't look, but I felt sure that there was a jug of orange juice or a half-eaten sandwich still in the fridge that he had once enjoyed. Speaking of sandwiches, Daddaw was the ultimate sandwich maker. His Reuben's are famous.
The bar of soap next to the bathroom sink was smooth and worn down. I teared up washing my hands knowing that he had washed his own hands with that bar of soap. Silly, I know. But it seems profound to me right now. In a few days, after the whole fam damily (as it is affectionately called by my aunts and uncles) has descended on this house, these traces of my grandpa will be gone. Fresh fingerprints will be smudged, erased. Things he put here will be moved over there.
Mom and I had to load the car with his clothes, a box of medals from his army days, and a picture of him and Maddy to take to the funeral home tomorrow. When we got back to my mom's house, I began unloading the car. It was then that I saw his black shoes in the floor board. His shoes. The grief hit me between the eyes and said, Here, let's have a good cry. And a good cry it was. Only it left me with this splitting headache.