This blog is supposed to be about Luke's Lids for Kids happenings but today I want to tell you a love story because this is how I process things, I tend to write about them.
This is a story that begins with a man named Lynwood and woman named Rosemary, who met and fell in love and had a daughter Debbie, then went on to have five more children (3 boys and 3 girls). Those six children went on to grow up and marry the loves of their lives and start their own families. In all, 24 grandchildren were born and those grandchildren have started having families of their own and 15 great-grandchildren have been born thus far (many more are to come I am sure of this). Not included in these extraordinary numbers are all the people who have married into this family and so far that number stands at 12. If you are keeping count that's 57 people (and counting) who have come into this family all because 2 people, Lynwood and Rosemary, fell in love more than 50 years ago.
My Grandpa, Lynwood, he passed away almost 4 year ago after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis although to know him was to know that MS was not who he was, MS was the part of his life that made for some inconveniences and gave him material for laughing about things in life (especially how nice the WalMart greeters were to people who came into the store on an amigo cart!). His quality of life was so wonderful because of my Grandma, Rosemary. Grandpa never spent a day in a nursing home or had any of his care done by in-home nurses. His care was lovingly provided by his Rosie. She told me after he died that it was easy to be his caretaker because she loved him so much that it wasn't even a decision she had to make, it's just what you do when you love someone. After he died, Grandma had to relearn how to live her life and she did. Grandma and Grandpa's dog Clyde spent their days together, Grandma whipping up amazing dinners in a moment and Clyde getting the leftovers (lucky dog). Then last year, Grandma because really very ill and suddenly things were different. Clyde who had been by Grandpa's side from the time he came to live with them came to live with me because Grandma had bring an oxygen machine home to aid her breathing, as you see, she suffered from COPD. The hospital who was caring for her last year sent her home to die but they did not know her or her strength. She worked so hard to get better and she did, little by little, her strength returned and her vitality returned. But you see, the thing about Grandma is death does not scare her. She is a woman of EXTRAORDINARY faith in God, she prays the scriptural rosary daily multiple times a day, she and my Grandpa went to Eucharistic Adoration faithfully for years (as I well remember being dragged to church on Fridays nights with them to pray before any sleepover fun could be had), and going to Mass is just who they are. So the idea of death being scary was not something she believed. She told me when my other grandparents passed away that Heaven was more beautiful now and that God just needed them there, because her faith in God is greater than anything else.
Tonight Heaven has become even more beautiful. She was surrounded by her children as it should be and I know that Grandpa is there beside her smiling at all the love surrounding them. I emailed my 5 year old son Jonah's preschool teacher the other day to tell her what was going on and ask if she had any book recommendations to help explain this to him as Jonah is quite close to Grandma and she gave me the name of a book called The Invisible String. So first thing I went out and bought this book and attempted to read it to Jonah. It's not a story about death so much as it's a story about the love between people. It talks about how everyone we love has an invisible string between them and the love you feel travels along this string no matter how life separates you. It's a profound message. As I started thinking about this message it lead me back to what Grandma and Grandpa started. All these children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren...that's a whole lot of strings and you know what happens when all those strings cross and cris cross each other, you create a net. This is why, in our lives, even when things are difficult or hurt, we never truly fall. Grandma and Grandpa have given us a net to fall into, a net that is held together with love. How amazing is this, because they loved each other so very much the legacy they have left us with is the knowledge that no matter how hard our lives get, we will never be alone without love because they are leaving us with the greatest of safety nets at which they are the center. That is an extraordinary gift my friends and I feel so privileged that I am one of the lucky ones who gets to be held up by this net, especially right now.
So you see this is a love story. Love between a man and a woman, love between children and parents, and love for God. There are so many lessons I've learned from my Grandparents, so many things gifts they have left us with, but this story must come back today to my Grandma. Another very wise woman yesterday said to my dad, this time is the process the soul goes through to separate from the body in preparation for that journey to Heaven. I was present when my other Grandma made her journey to Heaven and I remember thinking "where's the boom, where's the thunder, something to recognize this amazing person is gone to Heaven" but I now know that the recognition must happen in Heaven itself, a celebration of that soul coming home. I'm sure Jesus will be waiting with open arms for Grandma and will get the second hug from her (I'm certain Grandpa gets the first) and to know that she will be watching and guiding us from above is truly a miracle but always in the center of the net they have created. Their love is where the string begins and always goes through as new lives are born in to this family. So yes, I do believe that Heaven is about to become a much more beautiful place soon. I love you Grandma...now and always!