Mama Duck has spoken and let the tears stream forth - for this installment of Way Back Wednesday The Kept Woman has asked to see those that are gone but not forgotten. Still tearful from reading everyone else's WBW's - here is mine.
This week we are remembering those people who have touched our lives and are now gone either through death or because we've lost touch with them. Who knows? Perhaps some of you will be inspired to make amends or rekindle friendships as a result of this week's theme. Or maybe world peace will final come to fruition.
SAVANNAH So first - my most recent loss. Less than a week after the big shit can (12/05) - we had to put our beautiful Savannah down. She was a birthday present for Dan 7 years ago. She was a Humane Society rescue and the sweetest dog. I'm sure Trooper misses her too - but he's actually happy to be the lone dog in the family. He loves all the extra attention that Savannah used to steal from him. He is allowed to play with his toys again. I miss that red dog though.
SARAH and BRANDON - Now - I already talked about one of the two most influential losses on my life - Sarah. The other was a friend of mine that died in a drunk driving accident when I was 15 years old. Brandon's death changed a large portion of my life. I stepped outside of myself and jumped into drunk driving awareness education. I became the president of our SADD chapter, went to school administration meetings and even took a job as a student liaison for a alcohol awareness campaign in our town. I still think of him often - and I hope his families pain has lessened over the past 15 years.
GRAMMY and POP POP - I know you were thinking that it's strange that my family wasn't included in the most influential losses in my life... but you see it was the nature of Brandon and Sarah's death that was so influential (although Sarah's life was also influential as my role model - but it was her death that taught me the importance of really living your life and not wasting your time). The last two people I want to talk about are my grandparents - my paternal grandparents - My Grammy and my Pop Pop.
It's hard for me to think of my Grammy because she was so unhappy at the end of her life - and I fight hard to not remember her that way - but the crazy woman I know she was. I hold on tight to the stories of her drunken vacation escapades - of her bawdy jokes that she kept track of in little notebooks. Of course I will always remember both of them in their crazy old timer bathing suits that summer in Maine. My grandma rocked. She was a nurse, a high priestess of the Galilee Shrine and the more I learned about her after her death the more she amazed me. I was lucky that I was able to say goodbye to her both while she was alive and at her funeral after she died. I remember with perfect clarity the last moment I saw her. When I said good-bye to her - she knew she didn't have long. I remember telling Dan as we pulled away from their house that it was the last time I'd see her. We both knew that was true.
My Pop Pop was awesome. I just loved everything about him. I was so lucky to get a chance to know him as an adult. For a long time he was in a medicated haze for his Parkinson's. After switching around some meds - he came back to us. He caused my Dad and Uncle (and Grammy!) headaches with his new found vigor and interest in life. Garage Sales, squirrel hunting in his back yard, pool tables... but it was exciting to see him full of life. By moving to Arizona I was kind of spared of watching his final descent and although it broke my heart - I'm grateful for it. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to him in person and although we desperately tried to make it for his funeral - I missed that as well.
Strangely - I know without a doubt that both of my grandparents are still firmly planted in my life. I had a moment once where I was alone in my house and felt a sudden urge to lay down on the couch. I felt dizzy and strange... very, very strange. As I laid there it felt as if someone had turned on a radio in my head and it was playing Amazing Grace over and over again. :) I all of a sudden felt very connected to my grandmother (she used to teach me how to play AG on her organ) and began to sing Amazing Grace. I knew all the verses. I've never known all the verses. Regardless - I still believe without an inkling of doubt that she was with me.
With my Pop Pop I had a similar situation when on our way to the funeral we ended up detouring to the Painted Desert and Grand Canyon (Julia was not tolerating the ride in the car from AZ to PA!). I went off by myself at the Painted Desert and found this little bench under this beautiful tree. I sat there listening to the complete silence. All of a sudden I just felt this overwhelming feeling of peace. True inner peace. I could feel my Grandfather with me. All of the guilt and sadness I had over not being able to attend his funeral disappeared instantly. I knew he was there and at that moment I understood with incredible clarity that he always would be.
Those two moments helped shape my views on death - yes I miss them but I also know that they are free from the medical hurdles they were faced with - AND they have the best seat in the house to watch their family grow and live their lives.
So - gone but definitely not forgotten.