Thursday, December 06, 2007

Eulogy

The kids did so well at their recital tonight. They were well-practiced, accomplished, comfortable. And it showed. Plus, their trio (G, E, K) was just sweet. Sighs of mama pride.

Q is feeling better. The dropped morning dose of clonazepam plus whatever bug was, erm, bugging him, seem to have both leveled out. I cut his hair this evening. Funny how trimming Q's hair makes the haircuts I used to give G and their daddy look like a picnic. G, squirmy as he was at the same age, was no moving target. Their daddy, even with the thick curls that Q seems to want to grow, didn't have splotchy growth like Q does just behind his ears. I never felt like I did a good enough job, but no one ever complained. Q thought the sound of the scissors by his ears was too much to pass up looking for, so he has a little tuft left just behind each ear that I couldn't get to. If he were sleeping more soundly these days, I'd cut it off now. As it is, there's no way I'm going to risk waking him.

And then, my grandfather passed away at about seven this evening. Just as the recital was ending. Just as we were packing up our cameras and heading out for frozen custard. We got the call just after Q headed for the tub to wash off the lingering bits from the haircut.

The man had a good life. I wish very much that he'd been more able to show us that he appreciated that and the people around him more when we were all much younger. I believe I mentioned before that in his case, Alzheimer's brought with it a kinder person, one who delighted openly in his offspring, all the generations of us. Knowing him these last few years was a real hoot. Planes flying overhead were an excuse to discuss his considerable knowledge of all things airworthy. He loved John Deeres--a holdover from his ranching days. Creamed peas and new potatoes, a seemingly universal harbinger of spring for his generation, were a much anticipated treat.

There's plenty in the family history that's complicated, painful, fragile. But the guy loved peanut butter loaf. With cheese. It was one of the things he and my grandma reminisced about when they'd stroll leisurely back through time, conversing almost as if the rest of us weren't there, reliving their younger years. They worked, traveled, believed. They made a family that struggled, faltered, and ultimately flew. True to it's own path, it has taken on a life, or several lives, of it's own, in each of us who are now parents to that patriarch's great-grands.

His last perfectly lucid Christmas was just hysterical. We were hip deep in the family white elephant gift exchange, the living room packed with people, when it was Grandpa's turn. Somehow he ended up with the gift that if I remember correctly, had been mine? It was a stretchy, black lace nightie. He held it up and waved it a little, then stood and pulled it over his head, down to the usual arrangement for a nightie, then did a little wiggle. A certain someone was videotaping the whole event and had a hard time keeping the camera steady. Man, we all just rolled with laughter. I'll have to look for that tape now. I think we'd like to relive those events as Christmas approaches again.

The kids used to sing with him (and Grandma) over the phone, in person, on his lap. Among his favorites:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know dear how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

And:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.



Peace.

7 comments:

sleepy jeanne said...

((C))
So sorry about your grandfather. You are my sunshine has always been one of my favorites, too...

~ V ~ said...

((((C & Family))))
I'm glad you have such special memories!

Student of History said...

This was a beautiful moving post. I am sorry for your loss.

Much love to you.

Kate

Kelli in TN said...

Oh, dear, dear C. I am so sorry for your loss and I am praying for peace for you and yours as you face all that must be done in times like this.

Zoo Keeper said...

I'm sorry about your grandfather. That hymn was one of my great-grandmother's favorites. She was remarkable, too. It is wonderful that you have so many good memories of the past few years.

PariSarah said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, (C).

Anonymous said...

My Grandmother sang,

The other night dear
While I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
When I awakened, I was mistakened
And I hung my head to cry

I sing it to my ds7. My Grandmother died when he was 3. Singing on her deathbed.