To my favorite heart
When I decided to go to Kenya in 2010 many people thought it was a strange place to choose to visit. It didn’t make any sense when I tried to articulate it, but somewhere deep inside it fit so perfectly that I knew the experience would be important. So important that it justified a single mom, with two young children, boarding a plane and landing in a place where she did not know a single person on the continent. Not a journey unlike what many others have done, but special to me nonetheless.
My grandfather understood. He didn’t question my motives or caution me about safety concerns. He just wanted to absorb every piece of my experience. He was so excited to travel through my stories that I started to realize he might not have had the opportunity to travel places he would have liked to visit. He read every word I wrote on this blog while I was gone, and then asked me to go over them all again when I returned. He told me I should write a book about what I learned and go on speaking tour. I had to stifle giggles because I thought he probably didn’t realize how common these types of trips now are. Still, even if far fetched, I took his adoration in any helping I could be served.
I was his favorite grandchild after all. He told me so every time that I saw him. Sure, he said the same thing to every other grandchild when they were around, but his heart was big enough that I actually believed it. I believed that he had room for each of us to be his favorite.
He was known for not only having a big heart, but a tender heart as well. He was the first to cry in every setting- happy, sad, or completely indifferent. His tears, a tributary, would start a sea of glimmering eyes, and soon we would all be silently weeping. Weeping in joy, weeping in sadness, or weeping simply because we were living.
His heart is what finally gave in this afternoon, sending my sweet grandfather on to his next adventure. His heart is what I will remember most about him as long as I’m left in this adventure. His heart had been stretched so far, not only by the great love he held for his family but the great loss he experienced by losing two beloved children and his wife. His heart is what I see most in my own father, the best gift you could give a child.
Four years later I actually am writing a book about Kenya. I don’t think it is the book my grandfather had in mind when he told me to write one, but I am 100% certain he would have read it and cried anyway. The book will have his name inside it. Thanking him for listening, for his heart, and for always believing in my stories.