Our father divorced our mother back in ’77. From ’77 until 2003 we didn’t see my father’s side of the family at all because we moved from San Jose, California clear across the country to Jacksonville, Florida. In 2003, my father passed away, and even though he and I had reconnected, our relationship was very strained, to the point of not talking at all when he died. My brother and I flew out to Sacramento to stay with our grandma & grandpa for a few days for the funeral. It was a great visit. So many years had gone by, and now, reconnected again, it seemed as if nothing had happened. It was difficult to leave.
Last Spring, my grandmother called and said I’d better come if I wanted to see grandpa again, that things were bad, and he didn’t have much longer. I went (my brother passed away in 2006). It was really a beautiful time for me, sitting with him in that room, going through old pictures, listening to old stories, just being with him, sometime just silently watching him sleep. In conversation, he mentioned he’d like to go see where my father was buried, saying that he’d never visited. He couldn’t leave, so I drove out to Placerville, and spent about an hour at the cemetery. I took lots of photos, and even a couple short videos, to bring back and show him.
Those photos and videos brought grandpa nearly to tears. They welled up so large in his eyes, but he was a man’s man, so he could not allow himself to let them fall. Somehow, I think he willed them back into his tear ducts. He said, “That’s beautiful, Mike”, then thanked me.
I was able to bring my family with me 2 weeks later so they could all meet this special man, and say goodbye all at the same time. He died a week after our visit. I miss him.
In the front of the cemetery in Placerville, where my father is buried, is a small reflecting pond and facing that pond is a statue of an angel. I thought of it as a guardian angel, and it was a beautiful sight. I painted this in my sketchbook during lunch today – a close-up of the guardian angel.
Thank you for letting me share this story.