A delicate porcelain teacup. Men's spectacles. Crushed eggshells. A rocking chair. Sticky, sweet cinnamon rolls. Agatha Christie novels. Buttons. Amazing Grace.
It is always something random, yet specific. Every time I see it, hear it, smell it, I am reminded of my grandparents. At first, it brings a sad smile, and then, tears. I have no control over it. The pain of their absence is crushing.
Christmas is especially difficult. It was a happy time for our very large family of 22 grandchildren, ten aunts and uncles, and our grandparents. We spent Christmas Eve at our grandparents' house. Looking back, there was never really room for all of us, but it didn't feel that way. The closeness felt natural, special. Before opening gifts, Grandma said a prayer- the same one every year.
The Christmas before she died, my grandma gave each of her great-grandchildren an ornament with a note printed on a tiny scroll. At the time, Jacob was my only child, so it is his ornament. He is 18 years old now, and we opened that scroll for the very first time this year. Hearing her voice in the words was beautiful. I was consumed with a longing to feel her embrace just one more time.
I often think about how much my pap would have enjoyed watching my boys grow. They would have played catch, sang silly songs while swaying on the front porch swing, and gone fishing. Pap would have taught them how to play Pinochle and Euchre.
What my boys have are my never-ending stories about my grandparents.
It doesn't matter that they've been gone for almost two decades. I still miss them every single day.