His eyes were closed when I walked into the room. He had fallen asleep wearing his readers and they were almost at the tip of his nose. I had to fight the instinct to go and gently adjust them so they were closer to his eyes.
In this brief moment, he looks so much like his own father. My sweet Grandpa. When did that happen?
I quietly stand at the foot of his bed and take in all the tubes, wires, and machines surrounding him.
His eyes slowly open…they crinkle up at the sides as he smiles in recognition,
“Q” (His nickname for me…the shortened version of Lizzy-Q.)
“You made it.”
We both smile.
I wore those same readers last night just before I fell asleep.
I like to think of it as looking at the world (or even just a good book) through his eyes.
As I get older, my perfect vision is not so perfect anymore. His readers give my eyes the added boost they need…the words on the pages are larger, clearer and sharper.
This is part of my grieving process. I do this every single time. I hold onto a piece of them until I am ready to let go.
My “transitional objects” upset my dad.
He did not like it when I wore my brother’s watch until the band broke.
“It is not healthy, Q. Every time you look down at the watch, you’re reminded of him. I don’t think you should wear it anymore.”
He did not like it when I held onto John’s last letter or wore Brian’s Red Sox cap or stored too many boxes of my grandma’s old knickknacks.
“It’s just stuff, Liz.”
I stopped sharing with him that I held onto these things. It hurt too much to have a mirror put in front of my face and told what I’m doing is not healthy.
And then my mom died, and I did the same thing.
I was not ready.
But, Death does not wait for when we are ready. So, I fell back on my usual coping mechanism to soften the blow, but, this time, I did not talk about it with my dad.
His opinion hurt too much. Maybe he is right?
But, then he called me when I accepted the best offer on the house with the red door.
“This house. It is your heart, Liz, and it’s being taking away and you cannot stop it. I am sorry you are hurting. I think I understand it now.”
A gentle shift in our relationship…
All I ever wanted was my dad’s approval.
His readers sit atop a book on my bedside table now.
I like looking at the world (or even just a good book) through his eyes.
(originally posted to Facebook on 10/13/2017)