Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Sad Weekend . . . And some moments of Ephiphany!

We started off the weekend by learning Saturday morning that Gary's grandfather (who was always called Papa Levins for years, but had been dubbed Papa Doug by a grandchild--not sure which one--seven or eight years ago) had passed away. He'd been sick for quite a while and had been really bad for six months or so, so it wasn't really unexpected. In fact, the old familiar adage that people say so often--that he's really better off now, than suffering like he was--is actually true in this situation.

Poor Gan Gan had been caring for him for so long and rarely left his side. She was just exhausted by it all and even told me she felt some sense of relief when he passed. Still, you can see the deep sadness in her eyes. How hard it must be to lose your husband and partner and friend for so many years (they'd been married almost sixty years!).

Gary feels somewhat the same way, knowing that he hated to see Papa Doug in pain and suffering. Still, it's hard to let go!

Gary keeps talking about those memories from childhood and early adulthood--of fishing with Papa, of those days when he was older that they'd talk about girls (ha!), of how Papa and Gan Gan neither were really "huggy" sorts of people until his own dad joined the family and forced them all to become huggers. LOL

Of course, my way to connect with the past is to look at photographs. So, I immediately wanted to look at the photos we had of Papa Doug when he was younger. It just seems like you can really SENSE his personality in these photos; you can much easier imagine him as a younger man--someone who looks like he sure had fun, and loved his family.

I love that one above of him by his car. And look at these--of his ship leaving for World War 11 and (my very favorite!) of he and Gan Gan all gussied up for a night of dancing. How stylish they look!

Don't you wish that we could just have one moment to go back in time and see our grandparents or parents as children, or teenagers, or even as young parents? Wouldn't that give us such a better sense of how they're really a lot like us? They had fun, and laughed, and played jokes on people; they had favorite potato chips, and movies, and games; they had first loves and loves lost; they struggled with parenting their children; they lived a normal, everyday life like the rest of us do today. We often think of them only as OLD people, when they're SO much more.

I want to be remembered that way--so I want to create memories RIGHT NOW with my friends and my family members that, hopefully, they remember some day when they get ready to say goodbye to me.

This weekend--as it does whenever I experience the death of someone close to me--also made me think about what's really important. I guess I could make a list of 100 things that are important--things that I want my children to learn.

But I think when it comes down to it, there are four important things in life--things that will matter at the end of it all.

I want to--

(1) Create memories with those I love.

(2) Say "I love you."

(3) Show kindness to others.

(4) Live with and by Faith.


Also going on . . .

Off to pick McKenna up tonight from the airport. She has an 8:45 arrival in Birmingham, and I'm just hoping it's ON TIME. (Hey, I can hope, although I doubt it will happen.) I decided not to tell McKenna about Papa Doug until she got home, so I hope she takes it okay.

Gary is such a sweetie (again!!!). He put a banner up on my blog. YAY!!! I'm learing more and more, from him, on how to set things up here.

Will be busy tomorrow. Gotta order some flowers, make a meal to take to Gan Gan's, attend the viewing, and lots of other stuff that I'd rather not do. But, we will make it through . . .

I really need to finish two articles, in the midst of all of that. I will try.


Quote of the Day:

"Happiness depends on happenings. Joy depends on Christ." (anonymous)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that one!!


Adrienne said...

So sorry about your loss, but the pics are WAY cool!

CathyVal said...

I will keep your family in my prayers! Love the pictures and what a way to remember him!

Gabi said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss... I am so glad to see that you have taken this time to embrace your memories of him and celebrate! I LOVE the WW2 photo ( I am a WW2 Historian and collect stories of the veterans of WW2) I love the photo of them dancing. It's precious!! Thanks so much for sharing! You are keeping his memory aflame right here!!

Your daughter looks very much like my daughter! Is she 2? Mine was born on Dec 22nd 03. We always have on DC here. The favourites seem to be Little Einsteins, Raven, Hannah Montana and Suite Life.
Loving your blog, I am a 'regular'
Have a fab week!

Jane said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, what a beautiful tribute. Also love your 4 things and the quote at the end. tfs.

Cindy Barb said...

Cheryl, please know that I am thinking of Gary, you and the girls. I knew Mr. Levins to be a warm, generous man and remember all the fund memories of growing up with them. It saddens me he has passed, but I know he is better, but those words never work when you miss them so. Gary and I lost Papa two years ago, and now he has lost another.

I remember going over there as a child and teen and hanging out. The pictures bring back some memories for me, especially the one with the car. My love and thoughts are with you all and I wish so I could be there for Gary during this time for him.

maria said...

So sorry to read about your loss. But you are certainly doing the right thing by embracing your priceless memories...this is what it's all about. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your sweet comment! I love your blog too...I'll keep coming back. :)

Joy said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but as you say he's in a better place. I love the quote on the bottom of your post! That is amazing, and so true!

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