Monday, July 14, 2008

In loving memory...




This is a very special post for me. I have been thinking since last night about what I wanted to say. 10 years ago today, my grandfather passed away. I don't think it is possible to put into words what this man meant to me. I still remember that summer like it was yesterday. I remember staying at my aunts and my dad and Amy showing up at her doorstep. I knew something was wrong and I didn't want to know what it was. I remember trying to run from them so I didn't have to find out. I remember my heart completely breaking and the tears stinging my eyes.




But I choose not to dwell on that memory. Instead I choose to remember every moment spent with him I possibly can. I remember how he'd leave his turn signal on in the car after he'd switch lanes. How we loved to watch the Price is Right and Perry Mason while eating our mush during breakfast. How he'd remind me every Tuesday that he couldn't pick me up from school that day because he would be working at the temple. I remember his silly hats and working in the garden. I remember his silly Oldies songs in the car and how he named me Buttons and Bows after one of them. I remember not living near him and how he would call every Sunday and ask how the weather was.


I dearly, dearly love my Grandpa Cobbley. I always thought he'd be there to see me grown up, get married, have children. But he is still here. He knows and loves Keith and Gavin, I can feel it. I'm so thankful for the knowledge that we have that we can live with him again.


I wrote the following essay for a composition class I had in high school and thought I would post it. Thank you to those of you who will take the time to read this post and share this day with me. Most of all I thank my Grandpa for being who he was and loving me. I love you.


Key Memories


Situated upright in the corner of the computer room at my grandfather's house, is an aged and well used piano. Cluttered on the high, wooden top are many papers and once important documents. Amongst the chaos, pictures of cousins, aunts, uncles and generations of grandparents can be found. Further down the front of the piano is a pattern along the sides, one I never paid much attention to because even further down the piano was the most extreme and enjoyable part; the keys. I didn't mind the one that was cracked, part of the white removed from it, or even the one that needed to be tuned badly. The keys were my joy.


I remember being a young child and running my small fingers over each of the ivory keys, delighting in the opportunity I had before me. Suddenly I would strike each key with a force beyond my control, one I knew not that I possessed, forgetting that less often times is more.


The pedals on the piano were very mysterious to me for I knew not what each one did. To this day, I still don't know what the furthest left pedal does. However, I would begin with each pedal and press them each respectively thinking I was the greatest musician in the world. I often wonder how anyone's ears could have withstood the banging and clamorous racket I projected from the contents within the piano, but someone, other than myself, enjoyed whatever I composed; my Grandpa Cobbley.


For the longest time I remember the strong connection and bond everyone said my grandfather and I had. This was further proved whenever I was told to tone it down while banging away, yet my grandpa encouraged me to play on as strongly, or beautifully as he would say, as before. Standing proudly in the doorway he would watch each one of my concerts, and if you can imagine a grandpa squealing with delight, that's almost how ecstatic mine was. When I finally learned to pound out a few correct notes, my grandpa would encourage me even further, always asking whether I had practiced that day. He even insisted upon paying for my lessons.


That piano became a tool for me to express my feelings. I would pound out angry sounding songs over and over if I was mad, or beautiful ones like they should be played when I loved life. A favorite of mine to play was "The Can-Can." It never failed that if I began to play that song, and my grandpa was in the house, he would once again appear in the doorway with an immense smile plastered across his round face to tell me how much he loved to hear that song. He would often say that my grandmother would sure enjoy hearing me play. My grandmother had passed on and I like to think that whenever I played I was able to help remind him of the joy he shared with her.


This piano brought great comfort to both him and I, for not long after I returned for my usual summer visit, my grandpa passed on too. The anguish and unfairness seemed to hit me with such a powerful force and I remember thinking of how much more we could have done together. It seemed that I was so foolish to not have taken advantage of the time I was handed that summer, but once again the piano gave me solace. I returned to his house alone, for it was so much my own, and desperately played "The Can-Can" over and over again until my fingers ached. I sobbed fervently, my tears cascading down onto the smooth keys when suddenly I realized how much time the piano had provided me to share with my grandpa. The piano still sits in my grandfather's house, as strong as it was before, but maybe even more worn. My aunt resides there now, and it seems so strange to see someone else's belongings arranged around the piano which for so long was accompained by my grandpa's possessions. The piano is familiar, almost a fantasy amid the other objects. It's capable structure and the warmth that I feel every time I play it, reminds me of my grandpa and his love for me. Though it's worn and has succumbed to age, it's beautiful to me, as was my grandfather. It's a priceless symbol containing whimsical memories of the love, dreams, and hope my grandpa and I shared.





7 comments:

Rheanna said...

Janelle that was so beautiful! I really enjoyed reading about your relationship with your grandpa. You write so well! Thank you for sharing something so personal.

tamster17 said...

What a beautiful post -- I had tears in my eyes reading it! You have a great way with words and it was neat to read about the wonderful relationship you had with your Grandpa.

The Martin's said...

This made me cry when I read it. It was so sweet of you to write this about your grandpa.

The Gatherum Family said...

So sweet Janelle. I hope you had a good day yesterday remembering your cute, sweet grandpa. Death is so hard and seems so permament. I am grateful for anniversaries and other special days to be able to reflect on those who have gone ahead and to be reassured that they do KNOW me still and LOVE me and that I will see them again. I loved reading your essay...

Cory, Jeri, Brock & Parker T. said...

That was awesome Janelle, it was fun to learn about that special little piece of you. Thanks for sharing. Reading that makes me so thankful for the relationship that I had with my grandparents as well, but also the realationship that my boys are building with my parnents.

The Meyers Family said...

Janelle, Thank you so much for this post I loved it. When I first saw the picture of him I thought he looked like your husband a little. I feel like I know you so much because of your blogging. I think every relationship good and bad has an outcome on the person we become. I think your Grandpa had a profound contribution to your charactor that you will pass on to Gavin.

Jewel & Alan said...

Everytime I read that story I cry! Not out of sadness, but for the joy of remembering the relationship you had with your grandpa. He loves you so much! He is a great man and has passed many of his gentle, kind, qualities on to you. Thanks for sharing your story. I love you!