Dear Mac; Heaven’s Company

Dear Mac,

I don’t know Mac, maybe Heaven is in the air lately because I have been thinking a lot of the loved ones there with you. My Papaw, your Great Grandfather, keeps running through my mind. I play back memories of him in his purple button up shirt and calming demeanor. I remember the way he would say certain things to me, his smile and the way his eyes reflected sincerity and kindness. I remember when I first moved to Columbus and he would visit me. We watched “Space Cowboys”, went out to eat and I knew even then how much I needed to cherish his visits. Then without a seconds notice my memories take me back and suddenly I am standing in Pizzeria Uno’s (where I worked in my high school days), dressed in my khaki shorts and my green Uno’s polo with my Grandmother’s arm around me. She is smiling that BIG genuine smile of hers as she squeezes me and then gives me a few pats on my lower back (practically patting my bottom…in public). Oh my goodness…THIS embarrass me back then. I remember thinking why does she have to do that EVERY time she sees me. Today, I would give almost anything to feel her do this as she says, “Grandma loves you, Natalie.” Suddenly, I can hear my Aunt Brenda’s laugh. This laugh. Oh, this laugh is the most genuine and original laugh you would have even heard. I can hear it as if she was right next to me. My thoughts soon drift to high school again, Aunt Brenda is fixing my hair and make-up for Homecoming. I remember years later, her giving Hagen a bath in the sink at our families cabin. I remember her talking about her grandson and how her eyes would literally light up with the mere mention of his name. She called him her “pumpkin”. I remember how sick she was at the end of her life and how no matter how down or in pain she was the moment her son, Regis, walked into the room it was as if most of that pain was lifted. And then there is your other Great Grandma in Heaven with you. She would be the one quietly listening, smiling that sweet smile of hers. I don’t think I had ever seen Grandma upset at anyone in my lifetime. She was always so proud of her children and grandchildren. Always so supportive. She is the one everybody says I look like, Mac. I get all my features from my head to my wide feet from her.

I’m not sure why things in life happen the way they do, Mac. I don’t think we will ever know. When I think of all the people with you, and all the people here missing them, I feel a heaviness in my heart. Most of the people with you suffered at the end of their life and the people left behind still feel the void they left. I think of my Mom, your grandma, and how she watched her mom and dad lose their battle with cancer. I can’t imagine what that is like. I think of how she took care of her younger sister, living with cancer until it finally took her away as well. I couldn’t possible imagine what she felt, the heartache she endured. I think of Aunt Brenda’s son, Regis, raising a little boy of his own without his mom. It isn’t fare. It isn’t right. I think of you, Mac. You are supposed to be here, bothering your sister and brother, creating a lifetime of memories for me to hold onto. I think of all the people who lost a child too soon and I can’t wrap my head around it. It isn’t something that is supposed to happen.

I’m not sure why any of this happens. The one thing I am sure of is that I will see everyone again. I will get to look into my Papaw’s eyes, feel my Grandma wrap her arm around me, hear my Aunt Brenda’s laugh, look over to see my sweet Grandma’s smile and I will get to meet you, my son. I will get to hold you, look in your eyes and hear you say you love me. That is the one thing I am sure of.  That is the one thing I make sure your brother and sister know. It is the one thing that keeps me anchored so my grief doesn’t sweep me away.

I love you to the moon and back sweet boy.