I watched my grandfather cry.
It was more like watching the strongest, greatest rock you've ever seen, suddenly crumble. And it was heartbreaking.
I've never seen my grandfather shed a tear. He was a boxer, a farmer, a musician, a strong willed man. One who you just didn't mess with. His hands could strum a guitar like butter, and his voice was like gold. I never thought I'd see him like this. It must've taken one good woman to bring him to this.
And she was indeed.
"Sing!" Nanny would say to me. I always felt awkward sitting with my Papa, my dad, and my sister, as we strummed our guitars and sang. Mirranda sings like a bird, and they've all played for years. Man, they were good. They were like stars. Bigger than life. I wanted so badly to be like them. So I learned, too, although I knew I couldn't compare to their talents. But wouldn't you know, every time we'd get together to play, I'd hear a voice behind us urging me, "Now you sing, honey! It's your turn, sing one of your songs!" She wouldn't relent. "Okay, Nanny," I'd say. She had a favorite song, and she asked me to learn it, so I learned to play it and sing. Why she believed in me so much, I'll never know. Why she enjoyed listening to me sing, is a mystery to me. But, for her, I would.
I see her sweet smile, I smell her cookin', and I swear she's almost in the room. I can even hear her voice. That sweet southern drawl. After spending more than five minutes with her I found myself talking in that southern way. Her accent was the most beautiful drawl I ever did hear.
He sure did love her. I didn't realize just how much until he sat down beside her in that hospital room. He wrapped his once very large and strong hands softly around hers, and kissed her on the forehead. It was heartbreaking and touching at the same time. For the first time in my life I saw who he really was. Who he really, truly was. A man in love. Not a boxer throwing punches in the ring. Not a singer who could outplay anyone on the electric guitar. But a man whose heart was broken. A man who loved so deeply and so true, that it didn't matter that there were four other people in the room....he held onto her. And cried.
The day will come, I know it, when they will hold each other again. In a beautiful, warm place. He'll weep once more, but the tears will be different. He'll hold her hand again, but this time she'll hold it back. They'll embrace again, and no more hearts will break. No goodbye's. It will be for forever next time, I know it.
She was always telling me to sing. Now it's her time. Sing, sweet Nanny.
It's your turn.