The E-mail That Never Comes


Good morning Everyone!

I had a dream Friday night – in it, I wrote a lengthy, newsy letter to my grandfather and then remembered that he had died, so I placed the letter sadly in the trash can, wondering why everyone else around me wasn’t upset.

Grief over the loss of a loved one is an odd thing.  Even when  the death begins to rotate away in time, and you are forced to pay attention to other priorities,   little things suddenly and sharply bring the loss back into focus.

With my grandparents (even though my grandmother was already dead when Grandpa died, I am mourning both of them together; somehow, losing Grandpa meant that I lost Grandma all over again, too), it can be things as small as the smell of the garage when I walk out into it mid-day, seeing a house by the side of the road that reminds of the house they had while I was growing up, or even checking my e-mail and remembering that I won’t have one from Grandpa any more.

Grandpa decided to learn about computers and e-mail in his early 70’s, about 20 years ago.  Although his information superhighway never went much above the speed of 35 miles per hour since the only internet available to him in Casey was dial-up, he steadily chugged along it.

For the last five years or so, he has sent small group e-mails out about once a week letting us know how he and Grandma, or just he, were doing and giving us pieces of hometown news – small, heart-warming things like telling us that the local football team had made it to the state championships or that one of our many cousins in the area had done something noteworthy.  I think he did it partly to stop the onslaught of calls that would ensue to his house if no-one had received an e-mail from him for a while (we all knew that something was wrong if we didn’t hear from him periodically) and partly because he liked sharing the news with us and he liked the computer.

Before that, we would hear from him even more frequently, as he tackled the task of going through old family photographs from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, scanning them into his computer and then sending them out to us with information about the people in the photograph, and stories the photograph called to mind.

The grief in losing someone never really completely subsides – Mark’s father died in 2001, and every so often I still see someone who strongly reminds me of him, and the grief comes back – but it softens with time, changing from the raw, jagged grief you experience closer to the death to a more rounded, watercolor version.

I miss them both, very much.  And to all of you who read this who just went through Mother’s Day for the first time after the death of their mother, I want you to know that I thought about you a lot yesterday and my heart goes out to you.

Nancy

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6 responses to “The E-mail That Never Comes

  1. Morning Nancy
    I lost my Dad over 18 years ago – Mom is still living but at 85 we all know her life-time is in God’s Hands (just like ours)
    I couldn’t even talk about my Dad for awhile because I would start crying no matter where I was – now after years and years we all talk about Dad and “his stories” and we send love to him through our memories – that is his legacy – LOVE – and we feel his presence each time we think of him or talk about him
    What a gift your grandfather gave everyone by sending pictures of family members and telling the personal stories
    God Bless
    susie

    • Yes, when Grandpa sent us the pictures and stories, that was really wonderful! I saved every attachment to every e-mail, too. I’m glad you can talk about your Dad now.

      Nancy

  2. I understand. My grandfather was the father figure in my life, and when we lost him suddenly, I was devastated. We all were.

  3. It is wonderful that your grandfather scanned old family photographs and added descriptions, preserving the history.

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