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I remember him

by Amy Niggel

I can still remember
how he smelled like that soap you use to take grease off with
and how he used to give me money, just for showing him the tooth I lost.
I remember his laughter
and his smile
and how he taught me to tell by the smell of the wind and the electric feel of the air when it was going to rain.
I remember how gentle he was
when he patched up my scrapes
or took hayseed out of my eye
or splinters out of my hands.
I remember how smart he was
always knowing somehow
exactly what was going on.
I try to forget those last months
but I remember them too
I remember the bed in the room at the foot of the stairs,
I remember the hospice nurses so cold so methodical in thier work.
I remember helping to change the sheets
and puree the food he could no longer chew
I remember the day he died
and how it was not a gray overcast day
and the wind smelled nothing like rain
and yet it seemed a thunderbolt had struck me straight through.
I remeber him
the way he was,
before
during
and in the end.
I still talk to him
yell at him
then laugh to myself
because I know that he is laughing at me,
when I am up chopping down trees with a what-a-saw,
or out learning how to change the oil in the family's most recently aquired car
or just walking barefooted through the fields,
I know he is still with me,
even though he is gone,
and I know he still loves me,
despite what is going on,
and I remember him
as this loving caring man
who never hurt or betrayed me
for even in the end
he knew
somehow
that I would be all right.
And I remember that look in his eyes
when the words wouldn't come
and I remember leaning over
and whispering
'I love you grandpa'
and I remember
knowing that he would always watch over me.

03/15/2002

Posted on 03/15/2002
Copyright © 2021 Amy Niggel

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