Thursday, December 11, 2008

Things

Not too long ago, my grandfather passed away. He was one who had so many sweet ways about him that it is difficult and sad to think of him being gone.

One of the first memories that always come to mind when I think of him is of one the times me and my family flew to visit him and Grandma. He met us at the airport and didn't seem perturbed that our flight had been delayed. He said he just "monkeyed around" and described the different things he did and the people he met while waiting for us. That phrase "monkeying around" seemed to embody his personality: chipper, a cheerful outlook, always interested in what was around him and willing to embrace new experiences.
So many of the memories I have of him are tied up with Grandma. I think they knew they were meant for each other nearly all their lives. When we visited, Grandma often showed us girls two baby rings she had. One was hers and the other had been Grandpa's. They were in the first grade when he gave his to her.

There was a flag pole at Grandpa and Grandma's house and Grandpa made a ceremony of the raising and lowering of the flag each day. In the mornings he had me and my sisters line up behind him and we all marched out to the pole while he accompanied our steps with sprightly bugle and drum sounds. It was from him that I learned the proper way to fold a flag.

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For Thanksgiving this year, B, kids and I spent the time at my parents' house. A box was there of some of Grandpa's belongings. Opening it brought back many memories.

On the one hand it was quite odd to see these items that seemed such a part of Grandpa and Grandma's home sitting there in Mom and Dad's living room. But the items were special, as many of them we closely identified with Grandpa and/or Grandma.

It made the knowledge sink in that Grandpa really was gone, no more to talk to and smile at in this life.

Yet, here were his things. How strange to have them here when he is gone.

It made me realize anew how transitory this life is.

The part of Grandpa that made him Grandpa lives on and he is now in a wonderful, beautiful, good place, Grandma is with him again, and best of all, he gets to talk to Jesus face to face.

But here...and now...his things have outlasted him. We have some of them, but we no longer have him. It kind of seems like our stuff should disappear too when we die. But it is comforting to have some of these things, to see and touch them and be reminded of him.

The stuff is significant. Not significant as in valuable, but rather like a glove that retains the shape of the wearer's hand after being cast off.

Little monuments.