This is the first year in my 31 years that my grandfather did not call and sing me happy birthday. Every birthday of everyone deemed close, family or otherwise, had their birthday written in his small penmanship on his Catholic diocese fundraiser calendar as a reminder for a phone call. Upon picking up the phone, he starts, "Happy Birthday to you.... Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl. I love you." The way he said "love" was so genteel- the "La" lasting longer than the "ove."
Since moving to the Blue Goose, he does not have his calendar, nor does he know what day it is. Sometimes, he would ask Mom, "Doesn't ___ have a birthday around now?" And, sure as the wind, she would respond, "Yes, indeed. You've still got it, Daddy. It's tomorrow." (Even if it was last week) She would give him the phone and he would call.
Today is Tellis' birthday. How clearly I remember her actual Birth Day- I was pregnant with Poppy, had a broken foot & was laying in bed next to Husband in anticipation of our newest addition. It was crisp and sunny. Husband helped me down the stairs and to the hospital on his way to work.
Today, I was cleaning LMC's closet in anticipation of her friends coming over this evening for the moms to consume schnog and the children to put handprints on ornaments instead of on walls. I was picking out the dress for LMC to wear for her first Christmas pageant. Green corduroy with a white monogram or the blue smocked Christmas dress that was Tellis'? Decisions.
The phone rang.
And, as always, in a moment life changes.
Mom, PETF, The Rock of all that I have ever seen was crying. Her father had just passed.
The greatest generation, the greatest of them all, my grandfather who taught me how to make pound cake and sausage balls- who filled up my gas tank in college- he is gone.
I called Tellis and said, "It seems that there is a new tradition in order & let me be the one to sing to you for him, Happy Birthday"
"Happy Birthday to you.... Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl. I La-ove you."
He is with his wife, his Millie Girl. He is with his son, Fuzzy Mike. He is with his sisters and brother, Patrick. He is with his precious mother, Granny Brennan, and his father he barely knew, having passed when he was quite young.
He is not in pain. He is no longer ancient and confined to a walker with a broken hip. Millie is greeting him warmly and they are finally reunited in that little house on Trinity Drive. In my opinion, he has a head full of hair. Because death does not separate us eternally, just temporally until The One says it is our time and brings us back together again.
He would not want us to be sad. He told my brother a few weeks ago that he "has his wings clipped on and he's ready to go."
Rest well, Big Dad. You were the only grandfather I ever knew & am lucky to have known you this long. Thank you for my courageous mother and her wonderful sisters. Thank you for my cousins and thank you for being the Patriarch of this Brennan family. You left a legacy of love and faith.