My Grandpa, My Angel

I saw my grandpa a few weeks ago. Despite him not being of this world any more I can say with 100% certainty it was him.

I was outside with my dog on one of our jaunts around the neighborhood. He was being particularly curious taking his time sniffing the ground looking for the perfect spot. I followed behind him at a slow clip, nothing too much on my mind when I noticed an older Black man getting out of his car, gathering his  grocery bags. He was dressed like he’d just come from somewhere important. A meeting, church . Sharp arctic grey suit, pressed and fitting well. His tie was a goldenrod yellow with a sheen to it.

Instantly I thought of my grandpa Oliver.  Us kids called him Boop.

He was an impeccable dresser. Unafraid of color, keen on what looked good on him and what didn’t. My grandpa turned heads with every step. Even in his grass cutting clothes.

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My grandparents, Mary and Oliver Pipkin

The way this well dressed man looked in his suit wasn’t the only thing familiar to me. When we made eye contact I noticed he held a striking resemblance to my grandpa. He had a strong, clean-shaven jaw, bright brown eyes, a crease of lines in his forehead. His smooth carob colored skin looked moisturized and clean. Even his salt and pepper mini fro was the way my grandpa wore his hair. Full and neat.

“Hello, young lady,” he said to me. Warm energy carried his voice. “How are you?”

A stranger’s voice can be a gateway to a memory, to a feeling, in the same way a favorite song can transport you. The rhythm, tone, melody can make you feel safe and loved even from afar.

“Hello. I’m wonderful. I hope you are.”

“I sure am. Thank you.”

“I have to say, that’s a sharp suit. You look very nice.” I refrained from telling him that he reminded me of my grandpa.

“Thank you. Thank you very much.” He smiled and told me to have a good evening. I nodded assuring him I would.

Ahead of me my dog tugged on the leash and I reluctantly took a few steps away from the man. I stepped into the grass where my dog licked at blades of grass and what I saw made me laugh. It was an angel.

A large paperclip had been folded into an angel. It was adorned with a pearly white head and a red ribbon. I picked it up and stared at it while my dog tried to urge me forward. Over my shoulder the man gathered the last of his bags and moved away from the parking lot toward one of the buildings.

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The angel I found on the ground.

“I see you, Boop. I miss you, too.”

I held the paperclip angel in my hand and continued the walk. Every time I glanced down at the angel in my hand I smiled. Not just on my face, but in my soul. I hadn’t realized that I needed that symbol, that acknowledgement from the universe that I am loved and cared for. That this world is holding space for me and I am supported.

My angel now resides just inside my door. I like to think of it protecting me and my home. I see it every time I leave and when I come inside. I even speak to it sometimes.

“Hi, Boop. I’m home.”

 

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