It would have been this Grandpa of mine’s 100th birthday last week.
I have never met him, yet I feel such a closeness to him. I always have. Oh I have heard many stories about him so I know that’s had a part in creating the bond. But I feel like I have a connection with him that is more than just that. I am touched to tears almost every time we talk about him.
He and my Grandma had a beautiful love story. He wrote in a journal so we have the sweetest lines about the two of them falling in love. Their love reached beyond the fact that he dealt with some health problems. Problems serious enough that they both knew he may not be around long enough grow old with her. But they forged forward and had a family: four boys followed by one little girl. When my dad, the oldest, was fifteen, his father passed away. I have always felt such sorrow that my dad lost his dad at such a young age…that this family was left without their father.
Love them all so much, and grateful for the lives they have forged on to create. I like to think of that loving father surely watching them and loving them from Above.
This past week in remembering that dad of his on his 100th birthday, my dad started an email chain with some memories of him. He shared the letter his dad wrote to him shortly before he passed away. That letter is precious beyond rubies, so filled up with love and faith, and makes me cry each time I read it. This time around, I was so touched by a few of the phrases I decided we should memorize those lines as a family. I mean, we carry around the “impossible” journal entry from my Grandma (back HERE), we should carry around a piece of this grandparent too.
So I printed it out and had it ready to go for this week.
Fast forward to yesterday.
Claire’s friend passed away after complications from a serious car accident. My heart is SO HEAVY for his family. The two of us had a teary prayer for them, huddled together pleading for them to feel so much love at this time. Feeling like the world should just stop for a while to take in this huge loss. My heart reaches out for them, a family I don’t even know who are so filled up with grief right now, and trying to understand. Perhaps I never will. Life just doesn’t make sense sometimes.
My heart aches for Claire and her friends too. This is the fourth friend to pass away in less than a year. How can this keep happening? How does a teenage heart deal with this? It can make or break them I think. As I grappled for words of comfort, I remembered the letter from my Grandpa printed out to share more deeply with my kids this week. I pulled it out during dinner and read it, trying to keep my voice from choking up, and somehow, some way, my Grandpa said the perfect things to Claire (and to me) at that moment all those years after he wrote that letter.
Thank you, Grandpa.
Claire headed out last night, puffy-eyed and splotchy to go to the temple grounds with her friends.
I’m so grateful that’s where they chose to go and look for peace.
So many prayers going out for this family trying to wade through thick sorrow. And so much gratitude for my Grandpa and the tangible love he left behind. How I hope that this family will find some things, like this letter, to help them stay connected. That they can hear that son of theirs once in a while in the wind, through the trees, feel his love and goodness in their daily lives.