Â Â Â Â Â I wish you enough. I rocked back and forth on my heels, a single tear coursing down my cheek. I wish you enough. The words kept repeating in my head, resonating off the colorless walls of my mind and making my ears ring. I wish you enough. I knew he was getting old, but I had always thought there would be time. Time to say what had to be said. Time to talk. Time to listen. Time to love. But there wasn't. I wish you enough. There wasn't enough time. There was hardly even enough to say good-bye. I wish you enough. I couldn't stop the words dully repeating in my thoughts. Even if I could, I wouldn't. I wish you enough. They were my grandfather's last.
The feeling of someone watching me pulled me from my thoughts. I turned toward the door and saw Grandfather standing there. My shocked mind winced with the sudden bombardment of questions. What was he doing here? How was this possible? Was I going crazy? Then he opened his arms, and none of the questions mattered. I ran into his embrace, despondent sobs wracking my body now that I finally allowed them. I was in his arms, and nothing else mattered.
Grandfather guided me to the couch as his hand moved soothingly in circles on my back. "It's alright. It's alright," he said softly, wiping the cascading tears. Grandfather's calming mantra had the desired effect. My breathing slowed, and the room came back into focus. I buried my head in his chest, content just to listen to the sound of his voice. His deep baritone traveled in one ear and out the other. I had no idea what he was saying. All I knew was the deep rumbling sound in my ear, the sound I wasn't sure I could live without. Slowly, his voice petered out, and I lifted my head to look into his blue, twinkling eyes. He stared back. Then I made a terrible mistake - I started thinking.
The millions of questions came shooting back at me, as if they had never left. I blurted out the first one I could wrap my mind around, "Why aren't you dead?" As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized how awful they sounded. My eyes filled with tears again, but Grandfather smiled and his eyes twinkled even more. He simply answered, "I am." I frowned in confusion, my tears evaporating as quickly as they had come. Then I realized what he meant, and felt my body slump in disappointment. This grandfather wasn't real. He was an image created by my imagination to help ease the pain. Grandfather was gone, and he wasn't coming back.
My grandfather's image interrupted my thoughts before they could sink in and do permanent damage. He asked in a soft voice, "Does it truly matter if I'm real?" I felt my face go blank, and then smiled as he folded me in his arms again.
"Why did you have to die?" I asked, pulling away and staring at him again. "Why?"
Grandfather sighed, "It was my time, Joybug." I ignored his loving nickname and repeated the question, my voice taking on an urgent tone.
Grandfather sighed again and picked me up to sit on his lap. "I was ready, Joybug. I see now that you are not, but I was." I opened my mouth, but Grandfather, knowing what I would say, cut me off. "Don't you see? I had everything I could ever want. I had you, and I was at peace. I was ready." I nodded, but my brows were still furrowed. Grandfather knew. He gave me a look and said, "Joybug, do you not remember our last talk?" I smiled sadly. Of course I did - word for word. There had only been a few minutes to say what needed to be said. To say goodbye. That's when he told me the family tradition. In my family, we never say good-bye. Never. It's an unspoken rule. When we leave someone, we always end with, "I wish you enough." I never knew why. No one ever told me - until the night Grandfather died. It was a poem, a wish, that had been passed down through my family. I committed it to memory. They were Grandfather's last words to me:
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright,
enough rain so you can appreciate light.
I wish you enough music to raise your spirits,
enough silence so you can hear it.
I wish you enough happiness to make you glow,
enough pain to make you grow.
I wish you enough intelligence to make your way,
enough innocence to enjoy the day.
I wish you joy. I wish you love. I wish you peace. I wish you enough.
My thoughts were in turmoil. I didn't have enough. Grandfather was gone. Life would go on. But I couldn't. Grandfather would want me to but I couldn't without him. We were inseparable.
"We're still inseparable!" Grandfather said, again cutting into my thoughts. "Look at us! We are sitting here on the couch loving each other after everything that's happened. Do you really think that I would let a little thing like death keep us apart?" I looked down and said, "You're not real." Grandfather tilted my chin up and looked me square in the eyes.
"It doesn't matter if I'm dead. I've lived my life to the fullest - now we have to worry about yours. I'm not going to stand by and do nothing while you throw your life away, Joybug. Get out there and live!" My grandfather's blue eyes bored into mine, flashing with determination. I could see the stubborn gene reflected in those eyes, the one I had inherited. Grandfather was not going to back down. And that was fine; because I had already made my decision.
We slept on the couch that night. I lay curled in my grandfather's arms, our hearts beating in tandem. I felt a new sense of peace drift over me. I laid my head on his chest for the last time, and murmured the only words I could: I wish you enough, Grandfather.
When I awoke he was gone. As I knew he would beâ€¦ should be. I sauntered over to the large window that looked to the eastern sky, watching as almost undistinguishable pastel colors streaked across it, growing brighter with each passing second, mixing with the darker blues and purples. Dawn broke as sunlight streamed into the room, warmth tingling on my arms as the first rays hit the sky. I gazed up into the sky, the darker side, and saw the stars slowly fading from view, as the sun took over, claiming its realm to start a new day. And as the last star, the brightest star, glistened at me one final time, I heard its whisper. I wish you enough, Joybug. I wish you enough.
I Wish You Enough
Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced.
Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, "I love you and I wish you enough."
The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom."
They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.
I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?"
"Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?"
"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.
When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"
She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.
"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them".
Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you posses.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
She then began to cry and walked away.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.
"I wish you enough!"Â©
By Bob Perks