Wisdom from The Fairies and Me

Posts tagged ‘grief’

My Grandfather the Orange

This last week my grandfather passed away. He was 91. I can’t think about him without thinking about oranges. He had been orange grower for Sunkist, growing, mainly, Navel Oranges down in Talure County, California (where I was born). I grew up eating oranges at the peak of season fresh from the tree. My friends here in Washington laugh at me because I can’t eat a store bought orange. For the first decade of my life I had never tasted anything but fresh picked from the tree. The memory of that taste, the sweetness, lives in me. It is a part of my being. I can bring the flavor to the tip of my tongue with just a thought. Oranges are in my blood.
My grandfather was like an orange. He had a thick skin that could be hard to initially get underneath of and when you did you would find some bitter parts, but there was sweetness there. As his granddaughter I experienced more of that sweetness then others. That sweetness, like the sweetness of the orange, lives in me still. I can close my eyes and be back on his porch on a hot summer night eating Klondike bars. In a moment I can be giggling at the time he couldn’t read the words on the Password board game and we all starting laughing so hard we couldn’t finish the game. In a breath I can transport myself and be back standing in his grove picking oranges.
When someone passes, or a relationship ends, we are confronted with many aspects of our relationship with them as well as the many aspects of who the person was. It is natural to go through levels of shock, anger, and sadness. It is normal to dig up old resentments and bitter memories. But the final step is to release these layers you have peeled back to find the sweet wedges of the relationship. You can always find the gifts that a person has brought you while they were in your life.
Tonight I sit and enjoy the sweet wedges of my relationship to my grandfather and release the bitter peelings they were wrapped in. Tonight I enjoy my Grandfather the orange.