I received the call from Bob late the night before. His dad had died. He was gone. Just everyone heartbroken.
I stayed up well past midnight looking at family photos and crying for the loss.
When the boys, who had wandered into my bed sometime in the wee hours of the morning woke me with their low talk and giggles, my mind immediately went to the news. I looked over at the two of them and told them what had happened. That their Grandpa had passed away.
Henry’s brow knotted in concern. He knew why Bob had been out of town and he knew this was expected.
Charlie was confused. He sat straight up in bed, all tousled hair and sleepy eyes, and asked with the earnestness of a four-year-old trying to understand something that he cannot, “Is it the end of him?”
“Is it, mom? Is it the end of him?”
My words, a jumble of pre-coffee cloudiness, struggled to explain. Yes, the end but no, no, not the end at all.
Oh, Charlie. Your grandfather is a part of you on some cellular level that is beyond my comprehension.
Every time you pine to be outdoors, it is not the end of him.
Every time I find you laying on the grass, just staring at the sky, it is not the end of him.
Every time you collect kindling around our house for the fire pit, it is not the end of him.
Every time you dip your fishing pole in the pond, it is not the end of him.
Every time the natural world brings you endless joy and wonderment, it is not the end of him.
When you are kind. When you are deliberate. When you love. When you laugh. When you just exist. It is never the end of him.