They played Taps

Eleven months have past. I have just begun to morn. Grief is strange, we all deal with it differently. I just can’t believe how long it has taken me to feel this.  I woke up early this morning from a dream crying. In the dream we found my grandfathers instant camera. I was sobbing quietly as I awoke and continued crying.

I have had this title (They Played Taps) in my head since his death in January. But, no words could make it to the tapping fingertips to a black and white blog. I wrote it in my head lots of times.

Recounting the military funeral. The precision of the  military grave yard soldiers. The shiny bugle playing his last lullaby. It was a warm Florida January day. Spanish moss waved in the trees. Maybe my Grandma was there waiting for him to join her. Maybe they danced and looked on us all with pride and love.

My Grandfather had been in the Air force. He went to Japan during the Korean war. He married my Grandma just before he shipped out and they had a two hour honeymoon that didn’t sound very romantic. Their love lasted longer than the 60+ years they were married.

Now, I miss them both. I am sad my Grandmother’s namesake won’t know them like I did. She was conceived a month after my grandmother’s death.  But, I am so happy her birth gave my grandfather such joy. He danced when she was born. That gives me such joy and heartfelt sorrow.

We were all blessed to know them. We were taught by their love and companionship how to love. Even how to enjoy one another. I loved as a teenager seeing my Grandma blush like a schoolgirl when my Grandfather patted her bum. She smiled and said, “Oh John”, with embarrassment.

We were taught generosity and compassion. Going back to the Late 70’s, I remember getting a haircut at age 5(?) and seeing a Vietnamese father of a refugee family come into the house. Grandpa was giving them beds to settle in their new home.

My Grandparents were the founding members of the church I sat in to many times. The Great Aunts and Uncles were all around the church. Every Sunday there was a family reunion. I never knew how blessed I was to be surrounded by so much love.

I loved sitting in that church, hearing Grandpa sing out the hymns he loved I remember  sitting on Grandma’s lap, playing with her necklace and chewing the gum she gave me. The smell of her Emeraude perfume.  His scent for me was the V05 hair creme he used. Both take me back in a heartbeat.

In the end, Grandpa was sad for a long time. He missed Grandma so much. The loss of independence wore on him. He was not happy. I am glad he passed on to be free from the feeble body and reunited with so many he must have missed from his younger years. Most especially, Grandma.

This is the first Christmas without either of them. It is sad. But It will be joyous to watch the little namesake learn the joys of Christmas, like I did at their house so many Christmas mornings.

My heart is heavy, and I fight back tears thinking of them.  I know I was so lucky to have the most amazing example of a loving relationship.

Merry Christmas to you all. Hug the ones you love.

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