I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago for a job interview. It went well and all that, but, as life goes, what I will remember was not what I went there for.
Saturday morning before I flew home, I stopped at my great-grandfather’s nursing home. He will be 95 this year, and while he is looking frail, he is well, and quite alert.
A very friendly receptionist directed me to his room, and I found him watching TV with his friends. I put my hand on his shoulder and said,
“Grandpa, let’s go talk in the lobby for a bit.”
He said, “Sure!”
Now, I am the only daughter of his only granddaughter, so I assumed that my greeting and his affable acquiescence to this idea meant he knew who I was. Further conversation proved this to be untrue.
“Where are you from?”
“I live in Michigan for now.”
“My great granddaughter lives in Michigan. You remind me of her.”
“Grandpa, I am she!”
Joy flooded my grandfather’s face. The purest, warmest draught of delight I have ever experienced radiated through the room. Our laughter and happiness filled the lobby of the nursing home, and the receptionist wiped tears from her sympathetic eyes. We spoke of many things, mostly family and change and his missing hearing aids. Then he got restless, fearing I would miss my flight. I had hours to go, but after half an hour, his courtesy for my “busy schedule” required me to go.
“This was a happy reunion. I am so proud of you. I love you so much.”
And he was gone.
I’ve attempted to convey how sorry I am that I had to go, how much I wish I could have taken the job I was offered. Unlike my usual method, I didn’t employ a classical form, but rather listened to the meter and tried to harness the harmony of words to make a sort of song. I still don’t know what to name it. Suggestions are welcome.
Only a few minutes pass.
I would spend my life right here
Watching sorrow leave your face
Laughing, holding, loving you
But only a few minutes pass.
Graciously you hold your court
And give your family leave to stay
Beside your chair for half an hour
Only these few minutes last.
You are ancient, life is short
Those who love you hold you dear
I wish you’d let me stay with you
And only a few minutes pass.