Friday, March 27, 2009

My Grandfather

My grandfather died.

He helped raise me.

There are no ashes. There is no plaque. There is nothing left of him.

There is just me, the evidence that he was once a sexual being a very long time ago. The impossibility that the man I knew once wooed a girl and had her in the kind of way that was then only giggled about behind coyly raised hands.

My grandfather. In love and intimate with my grandmother.

I think of this as we drive past the sign that points to Rockhampton. He was burned there and the ashes were swept out into the garden where the last of his body gave colour and scent to roses. At least this is what I hope. It softens the ending. I think of roses and my grandfather and Rockhampton and the strange sexual being, the young man that I didn't and will never know.

I am sad.

I am a sad person.

We drive and the sign is gone and I do not mention it. And the hills at the side of the road are green again now, after the rain, but I still remember the years of drought. Last time we drove by here it was nothing but brown earth and locusts.

At the funeral the church was small and thirsty. Dried us out, leached the tears out of the pores of our skin. Tiny congregation, dry eyed and solemn.

But I cried and cried and cried up there on the podium for all to see. Carefully penned words drowned in a hiccup of sobbing. I cry more often now than before it seems. Sad sad sad.

The cyclone came through this way. Almost. Missed the land. Dragged water out of the ocean, flung it at the ground. Grass now, pasture growing back. I hold my fingers out to the wind. Spots of rain. Wind. Damp heat. And I think maybe the drought is over for a while now.


CJM said...

This post makes me ache. You've captured melancholia so beautifully and with such truth. My maternal grandmother lived with my family for eight years (I was 19 when she died).

She shaped me with stories of her childhood - and my mother's - as well as tales of her youth and beyond. She taught me how to crochet and how to keep a tidy kitchen table. She did however, take a secret to her grave - the identity of my mother's father. Some stories run far too deep it seems ...

Christopher Currie said...

That's heartbreaking, KK.

Kath F said...

Krissy please except my condolences, your words have moved me. It was heartwarming reading your thoughts about your grandfathers more youthful years. This world would be a better place if all people had the ability to remember that the elderly were once young sexual beings with productive & busy lives. Human beings that have gained a wealth of knowledge that can only be achieved through having experienced all that life has to offer.
Our exterior shells & our inner bodies may wither with the passage of time but the mind, in particular, the part of the mind that stores our memories is more times that not alive & well! Even people with insidious diseases such as alzheimers or dementia related illnesses remember much more from their more youthful years than of what happened yesterday! At least this has been my experience throughout my nursing years.
I can only imagine how you must be feeling at this time & I would like to express my sorrow for you!