Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Last of All Days
When he got sick, I knew his time was limited...it always is with this disease. It's sad how it takes something as heartwrenching as a disease to make you say the important things to people you never say. When we celebrated his last birthday with him at the beginning of March 2001, I decided the best birthday gift I could give him was a letter telling him how much he meant to me and all of the fond memories I had with him. He read it when he got home and apparently would rave about it to anyone who would listen. He couldn't believe some of the things I remembered. He asked his wife if she would ask me to read it as his eulogy and I did. I altered it to 3rd person and basically kept it the same except for a few small things. I read it in front of a standing room only chapel full of 150+ people and had them in laughter and tears. I remember how intently my mom and two aunts were staring at me from the front row holding hands...in awe I could get through it without crying. It was easy when I was sharing memories like him taking me to buy my first junker car, going to amusement parks and telling racy jokes around me for the first time. Now when I was done, that was another story but I got through it...to honor him. I think that was probably one of the top 5 proudest moments of my life.
When I think of how much life I wasted hiding away from the world and experiences because of my weight, I get very sad. I think of how he would've given anything to have those extra days while I squandered them taking for granted that there would be another one tomorrow when that's not promised to any of us. I ask him for forgiveness for my ignorance at that time and promise that I will try to live my life more like he did, doing the things we love to do even if it's not popular with everyone. It's hard not to take life for granted but if you can remember those you've lost and what they would give to have the opportunity to live one more day...a day that isn't necessarily a special occasion and is without fanfare. A day like today...like tomorrow. When I lose sight of that, I try to remember this song that helped me get through Grandpa's disease...The Last Day by Marilyn Scott. If that song doesn't change your outlook on life, nothing will. But it wouldn't be a proper tribute to Grandpa without playing his favorite song My Ding-a-Ling by Chuck Berry.
I love you Grandpa...
Don't want to miss another post? Make sure you subscribe!