Today is Grandpa's birthday. But, not just any birthday...a big 7-0. This milestone reminded Momma to look back two years ago, to when we were facing his birthday without you (2 Years Ago). It was a gloomy celebration, brightened for most by stories of you. And, the hope of new joy and laughter surrounding your little brother who was still just a bump in Momma's tummy.
Grandpa was one of the family members most impacted by your death. One of the few people whose grief most closely mirrored Momma's in the months after your passing. Some of Momma's most heart-wrenching memories from the first days, weeks and months include Grandpa - having to tell him in the ER - as he rushed in full of hope that everything would be OK - that you were "gone"; planning your service alongside one of his best friends who wrote the obituary and helped us pick your teddy bear urn; meeting for lunch weeks later and not being able to stop the tears over bowls of white chicken chili.
A few weeks after you died, Grandpa and Grandma tried to take a trip out of town, to Florida. Planned well before your passing and much needed after the services and shock. Unfortunately, they ran into an ice storm somewhere in Kentucky and got slammed into by an 18-wheeler. But, wouldn't you know it. Grandma's little Lexus held together like a steel cocoon and they walked away, relatively unscathed.
After the accident we talked about you, the Guardian Angel who watched over them to help them survive that accident. An accident they probably shouldn't have survived. But, as a family we needed them to survive. I believe you were there. This event was beginning of Momma's restoration in her faith - faith in something, anything. In something more than just the here and now.
Oh, and by the way. As we reflect on Grandpa's 70th birthday I must share one of the reasons I find Grandpa so remarkable and touched by faith of his own. This isn't Grandpa's first amazing survival story. He made it through a full year in Vietnam during the height of the conflict. And a terrible head-on car accident caused by a car thief the 80s (as well as other minor car accidents). But he survives and is the rock of our family. Positive. Spiritual. Funny and loving and optimistic.
Happy birthday Grandpa. You deserve all the happiness the universe can possibly create, and then some.
To the moon - and back!
|Grandpa and Peanut just weeks after he was born.|