Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1992: 40 Thoughts in 40 Days

Certainly I can come up with ONE distinctive memory from 1992, the year that I turned 20.  365 days in a year, there should be a lot of memories there, right?

Yes, there should be.  But I'm struggling to find it.

Oh things happened, I can see that as I flip through photo albums and scrapbooks.  A Whiteheart concert with "the boyfriend", seeing my first Broadway musical (a touring company for Les Miserables) with "the boyfriend", traveling to Kentucky with "the boyfriend" to visit my brother and sister-in-law, seeing my brother ordained as a minister (what? How did that happen?), friends were getting married, friends had careers, friends were having babies.

We were all doing very grown-up things and making very grown-up choices and becoming...ugh.  Grown-up.

I didn't want to grow up.  Well...in some ways I did.  I mean, it's not as if I was looking to compete with Peter Pan in Never-Never Land. But is there anything wrong with still wanting to play a game of hide-and-seek even though you're now 20 years old?
Being a grown-up also means that when bad things happen...sad things even...it's probably going to be remembered with more detail and more emotion than what I ever would have as a child.  But it can become a cherished memory even through the sadness.

As a little girl, for example, I went to a small number of funerals when it was...appropriate for a young child to attend.  Great-aunts, family friends, etc...people I knew of, but can't say I really knew them personally to be overly upset over it.  That's not being heartless and cold...just being the kid that I was.

But when I became a grown-up, I had to face grown-up realities.  Realities such as grandpas don't live forever and that cancer sucks.   And facing the reality that you'd never hear his laugh again on this earth, or knowing that at Christmas-time those little brown bags that he always meticulously put together for each of his kids and grandkids with specific little treasures inside would no longer be there - no matter how hard anyone else tried to step in.  Just the realization that would come slamming down on me that he really was no longer here...would send me into a tailspin for days.

In July of 1992, I knew going to the hospital that day that it was going to be his last day.  Not necessarily something I wanted to know ahead of time, but it was a sad time seeing grandpa slip away a little more each day, and I was looking for comfort.  The (now long-lost) Stryper Bible, was still sitting on my dresser and I picked it up.  I had no words, and I didn't know where to look.  I just had a need.

What I was given that day was John 16:16 - "Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

What?  That's NOT what I wanted to read!  Really?  Out of this entire book, THAT's what You give me for comfort?  (Yes, I had that conversation with God for a brief moment, and then He calmed me by reminding me that I had my time to say goodbye, and I would see grandpa again...one day.)

That afternoon I spent some of grandpa's last few minutes with him.  It was just he and I in the room.  There were many other family members there in the hospital, in the waiting room down the hall.  But for a few minutes it was just grandpa and I.  He couldn't speak, and he was receiving oxygen through a mask at the time, but we just sat there together for those few moments.  He motioned that he wanted a drink of water, and I was able to take care of him even in just that simple way.  Pouring his cup, lifting his mask and holding his head while he took a drink, then just sitting with him while he held my hand.

It wasn't but a few moments more, when his kids had gathered around him, and we were told to say our goodbyes when he left us.  

But I know it's only for a little while.

And I still miss him daily.  Especially when I look at my youngest son and see so much of his great-grandfather in his look and in his mannerisms.  And the way he makes me laugh.  Every day.  Just like grandpa.

C.

2 comments:

Sandi Sommer said...

Candy - you are a very talented writer. I believe your grandfather was my Uncle Paul and you brought him back to life with your words. My father passed away in October 1991 from the dreaded cancer and I felt your pain and wept your tears. Thank you for sharing.

Candy said...

Yes...yes he was your Uncle Paul! You know what a beast the "C" is, and I'm sorry that you have felt the loss in your life because of it as well.