My husband’s grandfather passed away recently and I found myself surprised at the depth of my own sadness.
It didn’t feel unfair, after all, he was granted 99 years. What a gift! It didn’t feel sudden, we had all watched him fold into himself these last few years, a withering blossom. I wasn’t even particularly close to him. Just visits on holidays. Shared meals. I tried to smile a lot. He never could hear my soft, high voice above the din of old age.
But Jack Willett never forgot my birthday. He sent cards, sweet, pretty things often from the Audubon society. He accepted me wholly into his brood, simply because his beautiful grandson, Carlos, loved me and wanted me there. He seemed to delight in our union, in my presence. And that was a big deal to me, a person whose birth and struggles and accomplishments have not been celebrated or acknowledged by her own family in years.
It was Jack’s desire to go without ceremony, and so there was no funeral. Instead I found myself often in the park, usually with a book, always with a cup of iced tea, sitting in the grass weeded through with blooming clovers, letting the sun do its slow healing work.
Mary Oliver has a poem about Franz Marc’s painting, Blue Horses. There is one line that has stuck with me all these years, burned itself down into my bones. In it she says, “Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.”
Jack was not perfect, none of us are. He was not particularly religious, and neither am I. But he was a kindness in my life, he gifted me beauty and acceptance, and in doing so, I like to think that we shared some of the holy magic of what it is to be human.
And now he is gone. There is a rawness around that hole in my heart. And I, still in the bloom of my life, can only wait with my sadness until it is light enough to carry, hope for the day it becomes small, like a bee, its buzzing joining the sad and beautiful song of my life that follows me always.
Want to make your own amigurumi bee? This little guy was made with Holly of Storyland Ami’s Burt the Baby Honeybee pattern, which can be found for free on her blog here.