Nineteen years ago, my beloved father was fighting the battle of his life with cancer. Unfortunately, he lost the fight. Anne was nine years old; John was five.
So many times since then I have felt this strong absence in their lives as they were robbed of one very wonderful, larger-than-life (he was 6 feet, 4 inches tall!), intelligent, ethical, friendly, sometimes goofy, big booming bass-voiced man. He would have loved watching these grandchildren grow up every year of the way to young adulthood. He would have delighted in their marriages. He would have been the proudest Great Grandfather ever. But it was not to be.
Recently, there was a powerful connection made between Grandfather and Grandson and it touched my heart profoundly. You see, John was unemployed for a spell, and was hired by Covenant Trust Company and about to start his new job. He would need dress shirts and pants, ties, and suit jackets for this position. When my father passed away, I had saved his size 13 "wing tip" shoes and a tweed wool sport coat. The shoes fit John and he wore them for his high school senior picture. But the jacket remained in the closet.
John was at our place and I remembered the jacket in the closet. I pulled it out, and it fit John perfectly.
Checking the pockets before John took off the jacket revealed five pieces of peppermint candies.
It felt as though Dad was there in spirit, encouraging John along the way as he set out to work in the business world just as he did long ago himself. I never knew the candy was there in the pocket for nineteen years --- just as if a Grandpa knew a secret of love and assurance would be revealed eventually in his absence.
We miss you, Dad and Grandpa.