Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 6: His harmonica is on my nightstand.

My grandfather died today.
6 years ago today.
And the space that is left since he passed gets bigger and emptier every October 10th.
His story is a great one.
One I am even too intimidated to think of writing: the product of an affair, left on a doorstep as a baby, witnessed two world wars, poverty stricken, immigrated his entire family to Canada from Italy, saw four generations thrive, suffered the death of his greatest love (my grandmother) and taught us everything about family and music until his 101st year on this earth came to an end.
He lived a full life, but being around him for so long, only made us feel a bigger void when he was no longer with us.
He was at the helm, and he made us feel we belonged to something greater than ourselves.
The last time I saw him, he was in a coma.
I spent the night at the hospital by his bedside.
I dabbed wet q-tips on his dry lips and tongue.
I spoke to him.
I prayed for him.
He was so far away.
But breathing still.
The doctors said he had the heart of an athlete.
In the middle of that night, he started to stir and looked uncomfortable.
I got up, off my cot, took his hand and rubbed his face and hair.
I don’t know why, but I sang the chorus of Calabria Mia to him (whatever I could remember of it) and he began to calm down.
His hands relaxed and a tear streamed down his face.
I have never had a sweeter goodbye.
I miss him.
So very much.


  1. 101. That's about as lucky as a family can get. You actually made me cry. All I can say is, he sounds like an unsung hero and inspiration to generations. I wish they made'em like that for our generation.