Monday, January 26, 2009

Celebrating a Life, Celebrating a Death

I met Nick the day before my grandmother passed away last March. I wrote in my journal something to the effect of as life is blown out like a candle another flame is lit thus always keeping a cycle of life and death. This weekend my grandmother passed away just as we were celebrating my birthday and celebrating the excitement of two families coming together in hopes for a bright future. I choose to celebrate her death as she is welcomed into Heaven by my grandfather and those that have passed before her.

Dad and Brenda came to Dallas this weekend to celebrate my 27th birthday. I am very sick with the killer sinus eating bug, but I fought right through it. They took me grocery shopping and we all cooked together. It was so nice to just have them there and to hang out. Then we all went to Uncle Julio's with Nick, his mother and father. I think my parents really enjoyed them! They talked about all kinds of things and really got along. After dinner we came back to have cake at my apartment!!! It was amazing to just have that must life in my apartment. Brenda is so very thoughtful and creative with everything she does. Dad also had a good time and he looked so nice in my Polo shirt I gave him for Christmas! The entire weekend was a candle lit with friendship and hope for a future.

I had a dream last week that Grandaddy told me Rae passed away. Grandaddy has been in Heaven since 1993... Rae is my Dad's stepmother... I didn't think much about it until a few days later Rae popped into my mind and I started wondering about her last stroke many, many years ago. I have NO idea as to why either of these things happened... until Dad wrote me an e-mail last week that Rae had fallen and had a head injury and wasn't expected to live - She had fallen the week before... the same week Grandaddy told me she passed away... She never regained consciousness from her fall, then another stroke followed or caused the fall... She passed away Saturday morning in her sleep.

Growing up I applaud my parents for not really letting me see the effects of divorce between Grandaddy and Granny Jac. Back in the 70s it was basically unheard of to get divorced... Grandaddy and Rae were married when Dad was already grown, about 30 years old. We did separate our holidays and do all of those things, but it was never a big deal in my world... it was just my world. I loved having three grandmothers! I had not seen Rae in probably twelve years as she moved to West Virginia, but we talked regularly through e-mails. She always kept Grandaddy's memory alive. Rae had this dry sense of humor and was always sweet, always making me laugh. She had a love for dolls and expensive leather shoes. I just thought this was so neat. One time I told her to stop buying me expensive dolls and just buy me Barbies! She would order Dad things from Neiman Marcus - a NM ice cream scooper and ordered shoes from Italy! She was such a neat human being! She made Grandaddy laugh and was with him every day until he passed away from cancer. She and her granddaughter, Kammie shared a love of theater and I didn't understand this until I was older. I never wanted to go see a show... I didn't respect it until college. I think she missed Grandaddy immensely and she's smiling up there now to be standing beside him. I feel a little guilt for not giving her the attention she deserved all my life, but she knew I loved her and more than that, she knew Grandaddy is/was my hero.

Yes, who does Grandaddy resemble? I hear it all the time!!!

I think we called that ball Rascal. Rascal got lost...

I look at these pictures and I see my Dad's face in Grandaddy's... Grandaddy was the nicest man I ever knew with a bold smile and a quick temper if you stepped on him. He was giving and Christian... a war hero... I see him in my Dad as the years go by... I remember being very small and Grandaddy would tip his finger at cars as they drove by - I asked him why... he said, Just saying hello! He took me on a Harley ride one time... He loved motorcycles! I remember also he loved boots! And his garden... It's funny that these days it's hard to find men like my Dad and Grandaddy. Good, old fashioned, hard working, nice men. I think I may have found one though... Grandaddy never spoke an ill word of Granny Jac as I know he once had a deep love for her. That is very important to a young girl as it taught me grace and forgiveness. We would go on walks down to this little store down the lane in Snyder. I don't remember much about it, but I remember getting stuck one day in the rain and it was so fun. Grandaddy passed away of heart cancer in July of 1993 - I asked him not to pass away during basketball camp, but he didn't listen to me. We visited the hospital every weekend if I remember correctly... My Dad lost his best friend. It's so inspirational to look back on their relationship and our relationship with Grandaddy. My family is very, very blessed.

So we all mourn the loss of Rae. She lived a long life and was ready to go to Heaven. I don't see it as an age... I understand I will lose Grandmommy one day, but to me they don't seem old at 81. Rae is being cremated so I will go with the family to a memorial in Colleyville next Friday. Then I will fly to Midland to be with my family at the graveside in Snyder on Saturday.

Celebrating a new life in Heaven, celebrating a new year on earth and celebrating the life of new beginnings...


Pleasant Drive said...

very insightful post, Julie. I enjoyed reading it.

Di said...

Julie, you have lost so much, and yet somehow you think so eloquently. I know you will miss Rae as you miss all of your family, know they are looking out for you and watching over you. Love you and be careful in all your traveling.

Finding Pam said...

Julie thank you for such a lovely and thoughtful post about your family. In my mind, everyone that passes is twenty-eight years old , has no pain and is very happy in heaven. The old become young again.

Safe travels. <3 pam