Subject My grandfather... the crow.
DateCreated 10/21/2006 11:16:00 AM
PostedDate 10/21/2006 11:08:00 AM

"In every loving woman there is a priestess of the past - a pious guardian of some affection, of which the object has disappeared." - Amiel


My grandfather was a very devoutly spiritual man.  He was of course the cutest little old man you'd ever want to meet, with baby soft white, wispy hair which he'd let me braid as we'd sit chatting in the small kitchen in the home I knew as my grandparents house.


He and I loved each other, like all individuals do, in our own special way.  Sharing scarce, private moments together in the sea of people that is our family.  My grandparents had 9 children and over 20 grandchildren...  It was impossible to EVER be alone in my grandparent's house.  But we found a way to every once in a while, Pompa and I. We'd erect a bubble around us and share space, just he and I.


One afternoon, at a gathering celebrating their return from their annual trip to Ireland (which would be their last), Pompa took me aside, and sat me down.  He cut right to the chase and asked me when I was going to make Kevin (then my boyfriend) an honest man, because he wouldn't be around much longer, and he wanted to dance at my wedding.


At the time, Kevin and I had been together four years or so, and already had Justin.  Frances .... was on the way.


I was taken aback by his question, not just because of its personal nature (my grandfather was very respectful of others privacy) but because of its importance.  My grandfather was a very devout Catholic, and my lifestyle‚Ķ while he never held it against me, he wanted for me what he considered ideal, the best... because he loved me and thought that's what I deserved.  And he wanted to see me get it before he died.


Unable to answer his question, I offered him consoling (and what now seems condescending) words that I was indeed happy, and that he wasn't going anywhere, and fervent affirmations that yes, Pompa, you'll see me on my wedding day.


As we left that night, I made Kevin swear to marry me on that man's death bed, ready or not.


We weren't given that opportunity, because as my grandfather lay in his bed dying, on October 7th, 1995 , I lay in a hospital bed, giving birth to our daughter, Frances.  Goodbye Francis Henry Morahan, hello Frances Violet Eileen Morahan LeClair.


I've had moments in my life, where the solid gives way, and the liquid takes over and carries me with it.  I felt very much like that the morning after I had Frances , when Kevin sat next to me, suit and tie, flowers in hand, and told me that my grandfather was gone.


I always regretted the fact that I wasn't able to grant his wish, that he dance with me on my wedding day.


Fast forward to a crisp sunny March 8th, 1997 , morning.  As I drive down the highway to pick up one of my bridesmaids, I zip past the cemetery where he is buried, and decide that I will pay my respects, and stop by on the way back.


As I pulled up the road, in the field of honor where they all lay at rest, I can hardly remember where his marker is, except for a general area.  It is an open field, with markers even to the ground, so the snow covering would make it difficult to find the exact spot where Pompa awaits my visit.


Except there was a crow.  Standing, right in the middle of the field, blazing black against the shiny white background... a single crow.


I started to cry as soon as I saw it, and looked over at Jen, my best, and oldest friend, to see the same awe and tears running down her face.


It stayed there, watching us, as I pulled up the car on the narrow little road, and parked it.  Jen stayed in the car, and I hugged her before I got out, and gently closed the car door behind me.


I walked slowly towards him, and our eyes never parted.  He let walk up to within a foot of him, and we stood there, he and I, frozen once more inside our bubble.  I must have stood there for a good ten minutes, just staring and crying with this beautiful animal....  a gift, from my grandfather to me, on my wedding day.  A symbol for me that I would understand.


There are no witnesses to this event other than myself, my best friend, and my grandfather.  One of us is dead, the others... who knows how much time we have left, but I know, that time doesn't matter...