I gave myself permission to take a blogging hiatus for the summer. Taking time to sit quietly in front of the computer while little people are in the house is neither effective for blogging or parenting.
I do have a lot to catch up on and many tales to tell, including, but not limited to:
Vacation in the Land Down Under. Alternative title: Kangaroos make good roadkill and shish kabobs!
Guide to World War III . Alternative title: My children make ‘sibling rivalry’ an artform
Practical Jokes. Working title: I must love you a lot to spend this much time trying to “punk yo’ arse!!”
The Kitchen Remodel. Public Service Announcement: You will get fat from eating out for weeks while your kitchen is a danger zone.
Unfortunately, to start back in the blogging saddle, these are not the topics I am returning from bench to the court to write about. Today’s blog could be more appropriately titled:
It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Saying goodbye with peace and grace when you want to lay on the floor kicking and screaming and grasping for anything to grab hold of.
There are many parts of parenting that I have never prepared myself to handle. I have had blinders on all these years that I would have to face puberty and middle school. I’ve even managed to not think about how to answer the question, “So, how are day and night made?” Which resulted in a late night reenactment of the solar system, complete with a nightlight sun and earth formed from balled up socks…
But one thing that never crossed my mind was how would I help my children through the loss of a grandparent on the same day that I myself lost a beloved grandparent.
My children lost their Grandfather (my father-in-law) three hours before I lost my own Granddaddy this last weekend. Both had been suffering for a while. We have been in a state of mourning, concern, and anxiousness about both since we returned from our big Australian adventure. Somehow, no matter how well you think you are prepared for death, the reality of it always slaps you across the face with gloves covered in glass shards.
Death hurts. Death is permanant. Death leaves an empty hole in your heart. Two deaths within three hours is cruel and unusual!
I consider myself very blessed that I lived with my Grandparents for several years of my youth and again as a college student. When I wasn’t living with them I was only minutes away until I married and moved several hours away.
When I first graduated from high school in Carbondale, Illinois, I attended the University of Illinois. It was far from home and I was floundering. I had a scholarship to this big university and felt a certain amount of pressure to succeed. But I wasn’t happy! I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed HOME. My Granddaddy came to spend “Grandparents Weekend” on campus with me and he took me to dinner, to movies, even to an Amish auction. What he really gave me that weekend was permission to come home. I was a good student. I didn’t have any reason to give up a full-ride scholarship to a big university in favor for school loans from SIUC. But he gave me permission. Being the former Dean of the Engineering Department at SIU, my Granddaddy got me in touch with all the right people to transfer my records and get started fresh where my heart wanted to be. Returning home was the best thing I ever did. I flourished with my friends and family around me. I never had a moment’s thought of regret, mostly because as long as my Granddaddy supported me I knew I was fine!
These last two years since losing my Grandmother have been a downhill slide for my Granddaddy. It’s not that I wanted to prolong his life at the end. It’s not that I worried about where he was going. He was a man of strong Christian faith with his God and wife waiting on the other side. It’s that I don’t want to admit that this chapter of my life is over. I no longer have my Grandparents. There are no more Thanksgivings with Grandma’s special cheese grits and yams with marshmellows. We will always make those in her honor… but she isn’t the one making them. There will be no more Granddad snoring in his big recliner chair or telling funny stories and jokes.
I lost my Granddaddy and it hurts. But I’m also watching as my children mourn the loss of their own Grandpa, and my husband at the loss of his father. This man raised a son that would one day be a man. A man who is strong, loving, and successful. My life is what it is because my husband is such a good man. I was able to thank his father for that in his last hours.
I thank God for loss. Without it I wouldn’t know how precious are the ones we have. I thank God for pain. It is through pain that we grow the most. Mostly, I thank God for all the wonderful people he has put in my life! I’m so overwhelmed by the love, support, and kindness of friends and family when we are in a time of need.
I found myself on the floor in tears… lost in emotion. But then I remembered a quote from an old WWII aquaintance that my Granddad would repeat in his best German accent, “Vut kind happy horse shite is dis?” And I smiled…