Thursday, November 5, 2009

Death, Reconciliation and Healing

I just noticed that the last time I wrote on my blog, it was on Grandparents Day. How fitting, I suppose. I had one grandparent left on that day and he was in a memory loss nursing home. I am sad to say that my grandpa passed away on October 23. Grandpa would have been 90 on November 11.

He had fallen a few weeks before and broke a couple of ribs. The medicine they gave him made his mind go even further away. He stopped eating and walking (or I think wandering would be more appropriate.) He lost a lot of weight. I talked to my dad just the week before and they were calling hospice into the situation which meant less than 6 months. Less than 2 weeks later, he was gone.

Several things tie into that I believe. First, Grandpa always promised that he couldn't die until Grandma and my Aunt Bonnie did. He believed he had to take care of them. My aunt was, well for lack of better word, slow. She has always had someone take care of her. Now don't get me wrong, she can function, but not like we do. She has no friends, no job and basically spent her time visiting my grandparents at the nursing home, running errands and sitting in a quiet house with her 3 small dogs on 4 acres that my grandpa kept immaculate, till he got too sick to take care of it.

My sister has been wanting to move back to Grants Pass for sometime now with her family. Due to circumstances beyond her control over the past 6 months or so, her path has led her to be evicted from her rental home in Portland. During the past few weeks or so, my dad and sister have worked out a plan that would allow her and her family to move back home and live on the property. Jaime's husband is a lot like my grandpa and would be able to tend to the property and renew the garden and the flowers and the yard. It is very exciting. Plus, my aunt wouldn't be alone anymore.

I think that in a round about way, maybe my dad confided to my grandpa what was going on and maybe Grandpa knew that Bonnie would be taken care of and he could let go. I think that Grandpa wandered the halls of his nursing home constantly because his subconscious knew that if he didn't, he would die and then he couldn't keep his word.

My grandpa was brilliant. He was an engineer for NASA in the beginning. He was also special ops in WWII in Asia. I didn't even know that till I read his obituary. He even worked at Roswell Air Force base...before all the aliens. We used to laugh because even if he did know about the alien stuff he couldn't tell me. So he was a man of his word. He was kind and gentle. He was shorter than me, so whenever I left town to come back to Texas he would hug me and I would kiss his bald head. He was awesome and I will miss him. I am so thankful that God gave me those glimses that I had of him in May after Grandma passed away. God is so good.

My dad let me handle the funeral service. He said that he didn't want a stranger talking about his dad. After I was done, my dad told me that I did good and Grandpa would have been proud. The only time I got choked up was when I talked about after I found Christ. I had gone home and it was a good trip. My grandparents house was on the way out of town, so they were always my last stop before getting on the freeway to drive 4 hours back to Portland. The first hours or so, I usually cried. Grandpa always walked me to the car and gave me that extra long hug to tide me over till next time he saw me. I asked him if he believed in God and he said "Oh Yeah! I read my bible every morning and pray. It keeps me grounded." We conversed a little more, but I was shocked. I was twenty something years old and never knew my grandparents even owned a bible. I got that bible, by the way. My dad told me I could have it. It is a Catholic bible, but I don't care. It smells like my grandparents. Grandpas last place he read was Mark 4. I don't know where, but that is the page he stopped at.

On top of that there was a reconcilation with my cousin, whom I haven't talked to since high school. To tell you the truth, I remember part of why, but not all. I don't care though, I apologized for acting like an ass all these years. (excuse my language, but that is what I was.) It was so nice sitting and reminiscing with her and my sister. I forgot how many good memories we had.

I also had healing. Oddly enough it was on a plane ride home talking to a soldier. He was on his way back to Iraq. He has been married for 8 years and only spent two anniversaries home. We talked about the serious stuff and I figured he'd had enough of that. He wanted funny stupid high school stories so that's what we did. We laughed and talked. It was great. I got his address so my girls could write to him. He said that there were 130 folks in his company and some of them never get anything in the mail. Hopefully we can take care of that. Anyway, the whole point of telling you this was to enlist your help in communicating with these soldiers and being penpals. He said they would send pictures and all kinds of fun stuff. Secondly,I was a terrible teenager and it seemed like every story I told was healing for me. I released it I guess. God took it and wiped it away. After I got baptized, I no longer felt shame or regret. It didn't weigh me down, it just was there. Now, I feel nothing, except a story that led me down a path to get to where I am today. Once again, God can use all avenues to push us to where we need to go, even the darker ones. He is so good.

I think that is what he is trying to do with me right now. Heal parts that need healing. Sometimes, before he can take us to the next level, he has to make sure all loose ends are tied up.

I'm not sure why I decided to tell you all of this. Maybe as a reminder for me of all that good things that can happen in ones darkest times. My grandpa was a light to me and my world will be a little darker without him, but God can light up even the darkest spots.

Be blessed,
Until we read again...

Faith Writers