I’m letting it fill in the tears I don’t have time to cry. The sky spilling what I feel, while I carry on.
My grandpa died a little over a week ago.
We went to his funeral on Wednesday.
Mourning while a mom of little ones is rather different than how I know I’d mourn if I had more time to myself. My chances to cry are few and far between. My thoughts, while normally going in many directions, are still doing that but so much more unfocused. The only ones that seem clear are memories that play unbidden. I have a hard time hearing conversations. (Harder than normal -- do all mom’s feel like they are hearing and seeing through thick mesh? All the filters that are running all the time to keep her kids safe and cared for blocking the way for much else.)
I miss a lot of people in those memories, not just my Papa. But I really miss my Papa. It’s still very unreal to me that I won’t hear his voice anymore. Right now, in my mind I hear him so clearly. All these songs I’ve heard him sing, start to play without conscious thought. I don’t ever want to stop hearing them. But, then again, I want everything to stop just for a while, so I can rest and heal.
My grandpa was amazing. And just like it always seems to go, I didn’t fully comprehend just how good I had it until the very end, when I went to see him while he was so sick. I’ve literally never seen, with my own eyes, someone have such mesmerizing faith in God. Getting to see Papa that last time honestly change my life.
Seeing so many people at his funeral say the same things about his faith, his whole life, opened my eyes to see he wasn’t just mine, he was many’s. And he changed many.
I can’t write about it right now -- I can’t promise myself the time it would take to face the feelings and find the words before my sweet baby wakes up and needs me to pull it back together. I don’t know if I will find the time to do it soon enough. So I will copy and paste something I put on Facebook about him. It’s not long enough, it’s not deep enough, but it is what I have right now in this moment, with no time to myself.
But that’s the other thing about mourning with little ones around. It’s sweeter. The richness of life is so present. The savoring comes easier. The salve constantly reapplied. Memories are a propellent to love harder, clearer, slower.
Here’s what I had time to write:
“My grandpa, who I called Papa, went home to heaven on Wednesday, Sept 2nd. He was a wonderful grandpa and such an amazing man of God. He lived through some extremely hard things, and his response was always to sing praises to God. He lost his wife and his nine year old daughter (my mom’s mom and sister) in a car accident, when my mom was 12 years old. My mom would always tell me about how he would sing through this tears. She told me about how he rowed out in a boat on a lake and sang hymns at the top of his lungs. As long as I’ve know him (and I’m sure long before) he has always had a calm, peaceful, quietly playful, joyous presence. Recently he had been sick for a bit, and he stayed so sweet, kind, and wonderful-as-always through lots of tests and lots of inconclusive results. Once they diagnosed his cancer (mesothelioma) it took him very quickly. But he kept on singing praises. I got to go see him in the hospital about a week before he died. I’m so, so glad I got to see, in person, his response to the hardships of life. I gave him a kiss and he said, “God is good. All the time.” My little life trials so often test my faith. I am so inspired by His beautiful testimony of a life praising God no matter what. Here’s a video of him singing about heaven just a few days before being there.”
If you’d like to watch the video it’s posted here.
I was scared to make that last trip to see him in hospice. I didn’t know if I could do it. I had no idea how to say a goodbye like that. But my smart, sweet husband insisted we do it. And I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s one of my sweetest memories I’ll ever have of anything.
I get to carry in my heart always the feel of his cheek I kissed many times -- me still in new-mom-cheek-kissing mode. And the sound of his voice saying, “I love you so much, Lydia.” And the new vision for what it is to cling to God in hard times.
Thank you Blake for being smarter than me and taking the time to drive us all there and support me through these moments.