I’m going back to Boston tomorrow after a wonderful and sad trip home. Wonderful because of my family, their silliness and love, all of the forests and mountains, and sad because we will bury my grandpa at sea tomorrow, near Deception Pass.
There are so many conflicted emotions regarding my grandpa. He was never really involved, smoke and drank quite a bit, antagonized my grandma, and was difficult to interact with. But he taught my dad to pun, who passed on that favorite pastime to us. He was calm and collected in stressful situations. He also apparently had a goofy side, that I desperately wish I could have known.
For the last two years I’ve been dreaming about him. It started with dreams where I would hold him and he would tell me how he loved me, but how sad he was. His voice was clear in my dreams, unlike reality where stroke after stroke and years of smoking left his voice and speech sounding like someone shoveling gravel. I began having dreams where I would simply embrace him.
The last dream I had, a few weeks before he passed, it was set in winter. Snow everywhere, pine trees, and my whole family outfitted in cross country skis. My sister and her husband were looking out over a fantastic vista and my mom, dad, two other sisters, grandma and grandpa were ahead of me. Dream smash cut to me being with them as we skiied up a hill, golden sunlight reflecting off snow, our faces. Seeing my frail grandparents laughing, smiling, breathing in fresh mountain air, and being together.
This gif made me think about that dream moment, golden light, shimmering snow, a gloriously happy elation.
I tried to embrace my grandpa in my own way, after beginning to have these dreams. When I received the call that he had passed away, in a hospital, alone, and I was across the country, away from my family…
So much. An incredible amount of, “What ifs.” And there still are. And there still will be. And it’s not like he tried to earn our love, and it’s not like he cared when he should have cared…
But maybe, oh just maybe, he was reaching out to me in that space between dreams. Maybe I was reaching out to him.
You are beautiful Mary Salcedo—simply beautiful.