I am sitting on a patio outside a house littered with memories. When I walked in I was introduced to my “Uncle Mike”. I have never met this man before. He looks vaguely familiar and I reach to shake his hand. He shakes my hand and then balks a bit and goes in for a hug. Unsure of what my response should be, I open my arms and let this Uncle Mike hug me.
~ ~ ~
I grew up hearing the same stories about my Grandpa Danny over and over. It seemed that it was the same two or three stories on a simple rotation. The story that sticks out so vividly now and the one that I remember hearing most often is the one about his brain aneurysm. It was a freak thing. A healthy young man, with three teenage children, suffered a clot in his brain and was gone before he was on the floor. I never knew this man, but for some reason this story resonated in my little heart and broke it every time. He wasn’t my mom’s biological dad, but he was absolutely her dad. My mom held her dad as he died.
Grandpa Danny. His name was Daniel. And he was always the grandpa I never really had. But every mention of my grandparents included my beloved Grandpa Danny. I would look at photographs of my mother perched on his lap and imagined myself sitting there – telling him ridiculous stories and letting him spoil me even more rotten than I am already. I imagined him outside working on my car or teaching me to hunt. I imagined talking to him about his favorite book and forcing him to listen to my horrible retelling of my latest read. I imagined Christmases and birthdays and Halloween. I imagined summers on the lake and fireworks for Fourth of July.
~ ~ ~
Uncle Mike is Grandpa Danny’s brother. I have never met this man. I am sitting across the table from a man that knew my Grandpa Danny. I can even see Grandpa Danny in Uncle Mike’s face. I’d like to think Grandpa Danny is hidden in Uncle Mike’s mannerisms. I like to think his smile is tucked in the face sitting across from me. I like to think that when I walked in the door my Grandpa Danny was appalled that I would shake his hand and so he pushed it aside and hugged me. It’s comforting to think that I waited 26 years for this hug.
~ ~ ~
God knew I needed that I needed that hug today
Grandpa Danny knew I needed that hug today.
So he sent his brother to give it to me.
(my grandpa danny)