Grandpa’s Heart

So I’ve started a new project. You know how it is when you get an idea, there is no sleeping until it is finished. And you may remember that all my projects start in verse- damn you verse!- and then eventually, hopefully, please (please, please) evolve into prose. Verse forces me to be concise and picky and raw and a whole host of other unpleasantries, but the real problem, of course, is that it does not sell.

But this is for children, and they like rhyme. Or so Dr Seuss has convinced us, anyway.

Someone I know, sort of, in a cyber world sort of way, was asking for book recommendations about grief for children. I couldn’t think of any, so I wrote this. If you don’t like it, keep it to yourself. If you love it, feel free to tell me.

This is for my kids, and what they went through, and what I should have told them if I hadn’t been so self-involved and hung up in my own grief.

I’ll be torturing myself drawing for this for weeks, I’m sure. And the finished product? Maybe just me and my kids will see it. Maybe they’ll change the words to “Grandma” and read it to their own kids when I die. I’d like that, I think.

And to my dad- if you had to up and f’ing die on us, let’s try to make something good come of it, shall we?

Grandpa’s Heart

Today I’ve come to Grandpa’s house,
But grandpa isn’t there,
Though his stuff is all around
And his scent still fills the air.

Mommy’s eyes are wet with tears.
Daddy’s face is grim.
People come and people go
Saying how we’ll all miss him.

A neighbor who I’ve met before
Comes in and makes some tea.
“Come my child, let’s talk awhile.”
She sits me on her knee.

“Grandpa,” she says, “has passed away.
He can’t play anymore.
We won’t see him talk or move again,
And that’s what the crying’s for.

Tomorrow, we’ll go to the funeral
Where everyone will be sad.
You’ll have to sit so quietly
And be a good, good lad.

The next few days will be busy
There’ll be lots for the grown-ups to do.
They might be impatient, but darling boy,
That’s got nothing to do with you.

After a bit, we will all go back
To the places we were before
You may find yourself missing your grandpa
Forgetting his face, voice, and more.

But worry not, dear little one,
For you’ll never be too far apart.
The love and joy Grandpa felt for you
Will live on with you, in your heart.”

And with those words, she said goodbye
And left me, alone, in his den.
I promised myself to take very good care
Of my heart, and my Grandpa, within.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susie
    May 31, 2013 @ 01:59:27

    That’s beautiful. And I think a children’s book for handling grief should be a thing. I am book marking this if the need arises, I can share your words in hopes of bringing comfort to little ones in the future. Thanks for sharing.

    I hope you share the illustrations :)

    Reply

  2. Francesca
    May 31, 2013 @ 04:03:38

    Long time lurker here. Your poem made me cry. Just lovely.

    Reply

  3. Anna
    Jun 01, 2013 @ 18:00:08

    I too read your blog but never comment….but this poem is beautiful.
    I will print it out and keep it. Thank you.

    Reply

  4. L.
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 17:19:56

    Okay, that just made me cry for like half an hour.
    I hope your spine spasms have subsided, & you’re feeling better.

    Reply

  5. L.
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 17:27:18

    Advice: You need to get a copyright on that, pronto, now that you’ve shared it anonymously on the Internet — publish it somewhere with your real name on it: a writing site, Facebook, wherever — just so some truly awful person doesn’t take it and make money off it. Imagine seeing someone selling it in a greeting card, or publishing a book with it as their own! So claim it as yours now, with proof.

    The other reason I suggested that is….I can imagine that I will want to share this, too, with friends with kids who lose parents, and I would like to be able to give credit where credit is due.

    Reply

  6. Anna
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 21:55:30

    Hi again, honestly the word copyright isn’t something I ever thought of.
    Maybe I shouldn’t print your poem ? It was only for me to keep and read to my grankids…..
    Hope you will be feeling better soon

    Reply

  7. Coco
    Jun 07, 2013 @ 02:00:25

    Thanks for that. We have been having a lot of conversations about the grandparents in our house lately, so I’m going to be bookmarking this to read with the girls. Especially little miss. She keeps telling us she misses her grandfather and wants to go fishing with him. Papa didn’t fish. Neither did Bobay. But I know what she means.

    Reply

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