My grandfather died four years ago today. I don’t like to talk about missing him because it still hurts, and I suppose it always will. For the longest time I was afraid that I would only remember him the way that he was at the end, when Parkinson’s had robbed him of his balance and it was obvious that he was in pain. Thankfully, C.S. Lewis told me, “Looking back, I see that only a very little time ago I was greatly concerned about my memory of H. [his wife] and how false it might become. For some reason – the merciful good sense of God is the only one I can think of – I have stopped bothering about that.” The thing is, I can choose not to remember my grandfather as a frail man but rather as the vibrant person I knew for most of my life.
I knew him as Mac, but most people called him Dan. Mac was one of my first friends. He let me run with my imagination, even if it meant using his three hole punch to make snow for the living room. He just used it as an opportunity to show me how his vacuum cleaner worked. Mac loved having my brothers and I spend the night at their house. He helped me paint a wooden motorcycle for my dad one Christmas, and he showed me how to turn scraps of telephone wire into bracelets. He played with me, built me a rope swing, let my dog lick his hands and loved me.
My Mac was a big man who gave great hugs. He had a booming laugh and was always ready to play a board game.
I miss him.