It is with considerable difficulty I write this piece. Yet, it's time. Bare with me.
Allow me please to step back in time. Years ago I decided to carry a piece of silver in my pocket. Silver, in whatever form, has been my luck, always.
A few months back, early of a morning, as I went about the routine of pants rotation, as is a man's way, I removed all the bits and pieces from my trouser pockets. Off came the belt, out came the Benchmade, the Surefire, all the loose change, wallet, and well you get the picture. Among these items was my 1880 Morgan silver dollar. (Remember I recently mentioned it.)
For some odd reason I placed it on my bedside table where it was forgotten. I had set aside my luck. Sadly, too, my luck forgot about me. Perhaps my subconscious substituted my silly dependance upon luck to the vintage silver bracelet and Navajo ring I wear daily. Anyway my luck didn't hold. Shortly afterwards my heart was taken from our lives.
To those long time followers of this blog you well know my dear wife hasn't seen, nor heard, and certainly hasn't held our grandchildren in almost two years. I'll not repeat the details of how they were ripped from our lives. If you have half a heart you truly understand the sorrow and pain.
She's prayed. Hard. I'm certain her pattela has formed a deep hard callus.
I'll always give credit where due. Certainly our dear Lord heard her prayers but I'd like to believe my old shiny and worn coin, the token of my superstitious luck, played a small part of what I'm about to relate to you.
As deeply as she felt personal hurt and pain I was the same but with anger.Time developed within me a cold heart of stone. Prayer seldom if ever escaped my lips. I was yin to my wife's yang. I wished to hurt. They, had taken my love, my Little Bit. They, had refused to allow us to know and love our grandson. Many an hour I had sat and caressed my chosen tool of punishment. Wisdom held. Patience is a virtue.
(I guess by now you understand why this is difficult for me, this glance into my soul.)
She asked if I'd attend the candle light service at her church. Her request came tender with big sad eyes. She knows me well. I am not of her faith but I do respect and believe in Him.
Allow me please another step back. Without the grandchildren in our lives we had settled into a comfortable routine, our daily lives became fairly normal in their absence. As husband and wife our love and respect for each the other grew. When the calendar flipped to December we agreed, silently, to place a hold on Christmas festivities. For the first time since I'd left the service of my country I did not purchase nor decorate a Christmas tree. Outside lights were banned. It was business as normal. After all, other than the birth of our Lord, we had nothing to celebrate. They were absent.
The holidays were, for us, dark and filled with depression. Any hope of a surprise visit from grandchildren was completely out of the question. With this in mind and with my knowledge of her depression I agreed to attend the candle light service. The peace of it was welcomed, and I do tend towards periods of moodiness and to see her smile and laugh would surely dispel my dulled anger.
Along towards sunset on Christmas Eve we loaded the children's gifts. As I drove towards church she said we should wait until after the service to deliver the presents. I absently reached into my pocket and touched the old silver coin, and said, "Let's do it before the service." She agreed. Just like that....
Luck and prayer took hold.
If we'd arrived a minute later we'd have missed them. My son had just, seconds prior to our arrival, returned home from work. He stood in the middle of his driveway and his wife was bent at the back door of her car securing our grandson into his car seat. Our son put on a face not unfamiliar to a deer caught in the hunter's headlight. Sweet Wife asked, "Now what?"
"Be still and wait," I said.
I stepped from our car and opened the rear and took a armload of gifts and turned towards him and said, "Merry Christmas." He stood gap-mouthed. Then, I glanced over and there sat my Little Bit. She was in the back seat of her step-mother's car. She'd twisted around with only her big brown eyes visible and waved frantically. I waved back.
Sweet Wife appeared at my side and to our surprise and shock our daughter-in-law (She, the one person responsible for all this turmoil.) approached and threw a hug on Sweet Wife. Tears streamed down her face. Then Sweet Wife's dam of sorrow broke and there stood two women in a hard hug and then I felt my heart wrap her arms around my waist. So long, it had been so very long.
As Little Bit held my hand we walked to their car and bent to visit our grandson. The little fella looked at me and pointed towards my face. Sweet Wife gave him a kiss and hug and then he pointed at his shoes, turned to her, and spoke the very first word ever uttered in her presence....he said, "Spiderman."
Every second or two I'd bend and give Little Bit kisses. I whispered over and over how much we loved and missed her. She's grown tall and thin. She seemed to me a frail and tiny bundle yet her pretty brown eyes flickered with joy. My last words to her, "You are the light of my life," I pray she remembers.
Then it was over. They too were to attend a candle light service at their church. Then came another shock. Just before we departed my son shook my hand, hugged me and said, "I'm sorry about all this, Dad." I replied, "Me too."
I extended a welcome for a visit. Told him we'd be home all of Christmas day. They were invited anytime even if for just a few minutes. He smiled and said, "Maybe."
On our drive to the candle light service Sweet Wife repeated, over and over, "Thank you, Jesus, oh thank you." Her face was a study in tears and joy.
Later, the lights dimmed and hundreds of candles flickered, held high, and I smiled. It was beautiful.
Until that day we wait. Since the eve of Christmas we haven't a word.
(I post this piece without the effort of edit. Please forgive me any mistakes.)