It has been a difficult week and tomorrow Duncan and I will climb into the car once again and make an unexpected return to Idaho. I have spent much of the day packing and cleaning, getting organized, running errands and grieving.
Last night my grandfather passed away, the last of my four grandparents, and my heart has been breaking ever since. Duncan was with me, on a walk through the dark and quiet when the call came. Almost immediately my good, red dog was at my side, standing so that his head stood even with my hand, gently resting his weight against my leg in reassurance, a reminder that he was there for me. The sky was brilliant and clear and vast in a way it hasn't been as of late, and as my mother and I cried softly and tried to be brave, I tilted my head back, turning my face into the darkness above. "Look for that new bright star," Mom told me. And so I spent much of last night doing exactly that, standing with Dunc in the dark watching the heavens, wondering what a world without grandparents would feel like.
My grandfather was an amazing man and I wish I could have introduced each of you to him. Perhaps, in a way, I did when I wrote about him several years ago. He would've made you laugh even if you didn't want to. And so tomorrow as Dunc and I drive the six-hundred miles back home, I'll be thinking of all those stories and laughing even when it seems so hard, smiling against the bland miles of Wyoming, through the winding snow-covered hills of southeast Idaho until I arrive home and can receive the hugs I've been sorely missing these past few days.
But we won't be alone. Grandma and Grandpa will be with us. Perhaps all four of my grandparents will be there, magic feathers, strong and light and able to carry us across the distance to the home they built on the edge of the Idaho desert, to the family they loved so very much.