I had two things delivered to me on Wednesday: Dirt and Bad news. Can I have more dirt, please?
I had 6 cubic yards of compost delivered to my house waiting for little ole me and my little ole wheelbarrow to distribute it in various places around my neglected half acre. It was a formidable mountain. I wanted it done in one night. I wasn’t sure how.
After hauling all day (even with help!), there was still 2/3 of it staring at me and my arms ached. I was ready to call it a night. Then I got a phone call.
My Grandpa, one of those stone statues in my foundation who supports my character and keeps guard of my memories, had been hit with a stroke. The concept of how an invincible man like my Grandpa—a soldier, a handyman, a father—could end up on his own floor immobile and semiconscious was as foreign to me as Kryptonite. Certainly, it would take something stronger than that to knock my Grandpa down!
My head was spinning and my heart broke. Despair and panic mingled with reason and memories flooded over me along with childish hopes and illogical optimism.
Shea and the kids were already tucked in for the night, even though there was still an hour of daylight left. I was dumbstruck and muddled and overwhelmed with the worst of all feelings…helplessness. Grandpa was in San Diego and I was here. I needed to do something.
So I took on the dirt.
I pulled on my boots and confronted the mountain. Shovel after shovel and wheelbarrow load after another, I saw images of my Grandpa flash through my mind. Dump a load…his white hair and twinkly eyes…take the cart back…his bright colored socks…start digging more…trips to Tiajuana where he bought bread that looked like donuts but tasted like bread…digging…him teaching me how to set up a budget…digging…What would he think if he knew I paid actual money for dirt?…digging….He always threatened to lock the door on us when we told him we were coming for a visit…toss another shovel…I was just talking about his next visit out here, what now?…digging…He was going to show me how to fix the sprinklers…take another load across the yard…What about his 90thbirthday party we have planned for June?…step around the chicken poop…I had just called him because I had a chicken with an egg half in and half out. Who else would I call for such predicaments?…Dump the dirt.
The process continued until I couldn’t see anymore. I realized the sun had melted behind the horizon and the dirt pile was now less than half of what it was. Once again, Grandpa had helped me tackle a big job. Still helping me, as I know he will everyday I draw breath. His advice, his stories, our experiences….will always be there for me even when I can’t call him on the phone or when he can’t pick up the line.
By the way, I have 2 more tons of dirt being delivered tomorrow.
Now it’s after midnight. Things are not okay, I am still wondering. Still scared, still sad. But I also know I am strong because I come from him. Strong convictions, strong shoulders, strong resolve to put my boots on and keep working.
Grandpa would say “stay sober now” or maybe “what’s a blog?”
I love you Grandpa. Don’t leave. But if you need to, make sure to unlock the gate.
Thurday evening: Well done, Grandpa. I know you are busy dancing with your sweetheart now, but spare a glance now and then and know how much you are missed! Thanks for everything…xoxo