Eternal Beating Heart

photo by my daughter on Long Beach, Vancouver Island ( great great grandson , age 2 years )

When my grandfather died , he was 82 years old and I was 12 years old. The doctor made a house call as he was having chest pain. As his heart danced into arryhthmia the good doctor jumped onto his bed to perform a crude from of CPR, to manually apply hard thumps to his sternum. My mother was present and relayed my grandfather’s response.

“ For god’s sakes mahn , let me die. “ his last words delivered in his Barbadian accent.

At the funeral home, I wept and the tears flowed down my childish face as I looked at his open coffin mounted at chest level for those who came to say goodbye. Tears were not acceptable and so I was sent downstairs in the creepy silent funeral parlor to weep in private and to pull myself together.

I would never hear his voice again or his laughter or hold his hand again. I could not grasp this finality.

I would never hear him sing the song with a mischievous look on his face that went like this.

“ If you wanna be happy and have a good life, make an uugaly woman your wife. She cook and she clean. She do everyting, and you can be happy for the rest of your life.”

How times have changed since 1965. I have since researched the song. Originated as a calypso song in Trinidad, you won’t likely hear it played today but I can still hear his caribbean cadence and his laughter as he sang the song in jest.

Now, far from Barbados , on a long sandy beach on the west coast of Canada, his great great grandson plays just as he did long ago, worlds away, but some things never change.

The rhythm of the ocean waves , the eternal lullaby and the beating joyful heart. They live on.