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Monday, August 17, 2015

The Sunset of Life

Last week we laid our grandpa to rest. Technically step-grandpa on my husband's side, but it never felt like that. When his mother re-married, her husband's parents welcomed us with open arms and loved us like we were their blood relations.
Really most of the family treated us that way. Walking into their home has always been pleasant and inviting. We are met with a big hug, usually several and it's like coming home in a way. After time spent there, you leave feeling nourished, not only by wonderful home cooked food, but all they way down to your soul. These people have loved well and are so dearly loved in return. 
It's going to be a little tough going over there for awhile. It'll take time to sink in that Paw Paw isn't puttering around someplace in the house. That we won't be able to go searching room to room to find him and give him our hugs. But Granny is there and we need her as much as she's going to need us. 
The preacher at the funeral spoke to the family about the support and comfort we not only had from friends but also from each other and his words were so spot on. He spoke from personal knowledge, being a distant relative to many seated in the reserved family section. As I sat there, I felt honored to be included. I'm not blood related and yet there I was, included with the FAMILY, right up front. When they read out the names, my husband and I were listed among the grand children. Our son was among the great grandchildren. No separations or designation that we might be somehow lesser because we came into the family late. I looked around amazed. I know that even as we continue to grieve, we have the comfort and support of some really great people. 
At the graveside, Paw Paw was given military honors. He served as a medic in the Korean War. He never spoke much about this in the years I knew him so I can only imagine the things he must have seen. The honors were very moving. It was the first time I can recall seeing the flag presented to the family by the men in their full dress uniforms. They did such a terrific job. It was so hot outside and they never wavered. We watched them complete their duties for us and then walk across the cemetery to take part in another service. 
Something that initially upset me was I didn't cry much. Not at the visitation or at the funeral itself. I mean I really cared about this man and I know he cared about me and my family. I know a hole has been left in his absence, and that is a sad thing to think about, but I couldn't really figure out why tears were not just flowing out of me since I sometimes cry at the dumbest things. The more I have thought about this the more I realized that there weren't many loose ends. He lived life well. There wasn't unfinished business and things unsaid. We knew how he felt about us and how we felt about him. It was out there and we felt it at every gathering, large and small. The times we went to their house just to eat with them. The holidays where the entire family gathered. The times they were in town to do errands and we got to see them for a few minutes. Every. Single. Time. We never separated without their embrace and without that deep feeling, the knowledge that they cared for us. He left us secure in the knowledge that we were cherished and I know my life is blessed for the better for having him in it.     
It's times like these we try to remember the important things in life. Life tends to creep into the day-to-day and it is hard to focus on those moments. Our minds naturally try to process chores and tasks to be done and look forward to the next moment, the next day, the next week and we forget that the moments that matter are HERE and NOW. Enjoy your loved ones now and don't let the important things go unsaid. Love really well!

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