If it’s true that the ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and the hard times are when you really build character, then I guess I’m chock full of character these days. Of course there are always things that happen when Todd is away that make me wish I could zap him back home, if only for a few hours, to help with a problem or use his signature powers to cheer me up, but the last few weeks brought quite the barrage of issues from all sides. Every day without him felt like an eternity and I definitely made a few tiny wishes that he would suddenly decide to become a banker and be home everyday at exactly 4:43 pm. Of course, he would hate that, so I would hate that, but I still thought it anyways…
One of the many things going on was the death of my Grandfather, but thankfully Todd was able to drive back from Texas the night he passed so would could drive together to Pennsylvania the next morning. I felt so grateful that he was able to come with me and especially appreciated him being willing to spend 22 hours in the car (in less than 2 days!) to support me and my family. I haven’t actually been to many funerals in my life, so I didn’t really know what to expect that weekend, but I was surprised at how the days were full of both such heartbreak and laughter. So many sad feelings mingled in with special moments of appreciation, nostalgia, and love along the way. Apparently this is pretty normal for these circumstances, but I didn’t really know what I was walking into. The funeral was pretty special to me for several reasons. One was because it was lead by our beloved children’s pastor that I had as a child, Pastor Cal. Pastor Cal is basically the Garrision Keeler of children’s stories, weaving allegorical tales full of suspenseful turns that would make you leap out of your folding chair. He also knew the important secret to being the best children’s pastor, which is to keep the candy flowing. The second reason was that my dad wrote the eulogy and my mom was the one that read it aloud. Not only was it a perfect tribute to my Grandfather, but I was overwhelmed with a feeling of pride in both of my parents. My father is an incredibly gifted writer and (with my Mom’s help) he crafted a poignant, witty, and touchingly thoughtful reflection of my Grandfather’s character and legacy.
My Grandfather was a survivor of polio (he contracted the disease one year before the cure was found) and lived through the sinking of his ship in WWII (he was floating in the ocean for several days before being rescued). He loved to laugh, whistle to Frank Sinatra and patriotic marching tunes (which we always thought was hilarious), and he gave me the nickname “Baby Lar.” He was days shy of his 90th birthday and married to his childhood sweetheart for 69 years. While that week was difficult and emotional, I certainly have a greater appreciation for my husband, family, and for the friends that reached out to support me during that time.
PS. In picture with my handsome Grandfather is my older sister Rachel, my cousin Art, and the cackling baby is yours truly.