Friday, March 22, 2013

The "Golden" Years

Santa Fe was good for me.  I drove down by myself because Jason was there for a week and I couldn't get away that long.  At the library with a napless Ryan in tow,  I randomly chose Billy Graham's book on CD, "Nearing Home", "Heaven is for Real" by Burpo, and some Spanish lessons.  (*We're headed to Spain this summer for our 20th and I need to polish up on my conversational skills.)

On the way down I only listened to Billy's book.  My grandpa is "nearing home" presently at 96 and 113 lbs.  Reverend Graham said something to the tune of, "it would be dishonest and misleading to say that getting old is 'golden' but rather difficult and painful and sometimes lonely."  The way my gramps has said it is, "The 90's aren't all they're cracked up to be."  No.  I imagine the 90's aren't "all they are cracked up to be."  I'll post more on that another day.*

*(The above two paragraphs I wrote yesterday.  This morning my gramps weighed in at 110 and my mom called to tell me he wasn't bouncing back as he has in the past.)

Before bed last night I told Jason that after Em got off school we'd head over and hang out with my gramps for a bit.  This morning when I came down to the kitchen, this picture caught my eye.

My Aunt, Gramps, and Mom...60-some years ago

I've looked at it so many times, but my gaze took in how handsome my gramps was in his younger years.  He was 55 when I was born, so clearly he didn't look like that guy with the two cuties.  The picture above was taken some time over 60 years ago...that would put my gramps in his 30's.  He was dapper.  I mean, check out his pocket watch in the mid 1930's below:

Courting my grandma back in the 1930's
Though, this is how my gramps is mostly stuck in my head:

Lou and Dot, late 1990's

That is, until my drive home from Santa Fe, after listening to Billy Graham and his thoughts on "nearing home" and then listening to the little Burpo kid's comments about heaven and seeing his dad's "Pop" while he was in heaven.  And the more I see the picture of my gramps with my mom and aunt at the beach, young, healthy, and strong, even though I never knew him then, I'm able to see beyond the wrinkles which have set deep with time, the white crown of hair that's adorned his head since I was a baby, and the veins and knuckles that mostly make up his hands, and see the man who will welcome me at The Gates one day.  I mean, who really knows?  I haven't been there...I don't know exactly how it works...

Don't get me wrong, I don't know if everything the little Burpo kid says is spot on, but I have a nephew his age (the age he was when he went to heaven) and there's no freaking way he could know eternal, heavenly, supernaturally discerning things like that without coming face to face with Jesus.

Taken a little over a week ago, specifically on March 13

Because I read the post the mom wrote about not avoiding pictures just because you look like crap....

Grateful my kids have gotten to know my gramps, even if just a little...
I'm not sure the point of this post.  I just need to write.  This morning my gramps was mostly napping, not opening his eyes, and it seemed as if he was dreaming.  I snuggled into his ear for a big kiss and whisper, "Hi Handsome!", as I always do, and told him things he and I and Jesus know.  His eyes fluttered.  Then, I hoisted my 30 lb toddler over "Grampa You-ie," as Ry calls him, for a hovering kiss, always on the lips because that's just Ry's style, and a "I yuv you, Grampa You-ie" close to his ear.  My gramps opened his eyes, smiled, and puckered for Ryan's kiss.

I guess I'm the death blogger.  I mean, I've written a little about it here over the years.  And, since dying is the leading cause of death in the world, it may be a subject I continue to cover until my last breath...seeing as how we all have it in common and all.


It's just that he's my last grandparent.  And we have always been close.  And his hugs have always been my favorite.  And he taught me how to dance for my wedding in his kitchen.  I love him.  And I'll miss him.

He may not have felt "golden" in his latter years, but my life has been golden knowing him.

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