So Beau and I have had a crazy couple of weeks. Strike that months. Among everything we've been dealing with, this year has been a serious reality check that I am a grown-up. Being grown-up means learning to deal with some not-so-pleasant things and unfortunately one of those things we've been faced with lately is loss.
I've lost three wonderful grandparents this year. My mom lost her father (my Papa) around 6 months ago. My step mother lost her mother(Mema) just a few months ago and Dec. 1st my step father lost his mother (our Gem). I'm so grateful for the memories I had with each of them. Now that those reflections are all we have to cherish they mean more than ever.
Papa: My grandfather was one of the wittiest men you ever could have met. That wit was magical when I was younger. Most of the things he said left me filled with wonder. Whenever I called he would always ask how I was doing. I would reply that I was doing good and he would say "you're looking good". That joke always made me laugh no matter how many times I had heard it.
Mema: She taught me to love all things crafty. She had a creative strain that despite not being true blood relatives, I believe I inherited from her. Mema taught me how to sew, to craft and shared with me her wonderful recipes which I treasure.
Gem: Gem was a true lady. Gem or GM as we sometimes called her loved to get dressed up, loved to visit with friends and family. I had such a wonderful last visit with Gem. My step dad and I visited her in the nursing home she had to be placed in do to her failing memory and health. She grasped my hand tight, talked, hugged and made me laugh out loud. One can't ask for a more perfect last visit.
To me grief is like a kaleidoscope, constantly changing with no way of knowing what you'll happen upon from one second to the next. One day you're laughing at a shared inside joke you had with your grandfather and the next minute you're crying just knowing that he's gone. One minute your condoling a family member when the next second, they're repaying the favor. There is beauty in the most solemn moment but it's ever-shifting design makes it hard to keep focus. I understand important thing to realize is that my grandparents are no longer suffering. My faith tells me that we will meet again. My friends and family tell me to cherish the memories.
The Bible uses several different analogies for these times in our lives: valleys, wilderness, etc. I know despite the sorrow that we are currently dealing with that this sadness is a valley that we will make it through. When troubles pile up, and the hurt gets too much to bear, that is when faith takes over. It's that single set of footsteps in the sand.
When a good friend was taken from us much too soon back in college, his sister shared a wonderful story and quote with those of us attending his service. It's times like these that I can look back at that time of anguish and know I'll make it through this too.
The first was Mother Teresa's "Anyway".
The second was this quote by St. Thomas Aquinas:
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
Both are wonderful examples of the knowledge that comes with strong religious faith and conviction. It is that faith that gets us through the tough times and it is that faith that will help Beau and I run through the wilderness.