Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Pop-Pop, Here I am again around my birthday...

Last time I felt the urge to write to you was a little over two years ago.  There's just something about your glory day and my birthday that impresses you so strongly on my heart.  I turned 37 on the 12th.  Your 29th glory day was on the 5th.  I've been thinking about you so much.

Last time I wrote, I was so bothered that you missed so much.  That you died when Daddy was so young (a few months shy of 37).  That there was so much of us you missed out on.  That there was so much of you we missed out on.  That your oldest grandchild was in the 7th grade.  That your youngest were just toddlers.  I've struggled a lot with that.

But when I wrote you last, I didn't know that that very spring, we'd find out Daddy had advanced prostate cancer.  That we'd use words like "probabilities"and "incurable".  That Daddy's oldest granddaughter would be in 6th grade.  That his youngest would be a baby.  That I would be 35 with a new baby and a 3 year old.  That I would arrange babysitters and drive to doctor's appointments and hop on flights to doctor's appointments.  That I would read thick books with lots of medical jargon.  That I would call anyone who could give me information.  That I would be bone tired from being up with a baby and muster the energy to read, to research, to pray.  I learned more about Daddy at 36 then.  That he loved you fiercely, which is how he soldiered on through your death while transitioning a business, farming, raising 4 young kids with Mother, taking care of Granny, and being a big brother to his siblings.  That staying busy was essential to survive heartache.  That pouring himself into business was a way to feel productive and in control when there was so much around him spinning wildly out of control that he could do little about.  (Oh?  Am I projecting?)

I learned that while there was a lot you have missed, your life was not cut short.  Your life was fulfilled.  In the early days of Daddy's diagnosis, I was in the rawest stage of denial.  I couldn't sleep.  I had one obsessive compulsive thought that would not stop..."This can't happen.  It's not real."  I spent many hours, days, weeks reading medical literature, contacting medical facilities, talking with doctors trying to find a "way out".  There was none.  And true to my nature, when I exhausted my abilities (as menial as they were) and satisfied my mind that I could not change it, I went into acceptance mode.  And strangely, I felt a weird peace that I'm so glad has continued.  It is this...Daddy has a great life.  He is married to a woman he adores, and she knows that.  His wife loves him like crazy in return, and he knows that.  He is living his dreams of owning land and cattle and running businesses with his two sons.  He has two daughters who dote on him, and now he even has six granddaughters to pick up where we leave off.  He has six grandsons, four who share his last name, 3 who live on his land.  He loves his community and works to make an impact there.  He loves his church and invests his time there.  He has strong, deep friendships.  He has hobbies that he actively participates in.  He is a blessed man.  And the best part?  He. Knows. It.  I heard him say to each doctor he met, "I have so much to live for."  He is not a man who has overlooked his blessings.  He's not a man who hasn't been told "thank you" "I'm sorry" "I love you" by his friends, his children, and his wife.  He's not a man who has untold "thank yous" "I'm sorrys" and "I love yous".  We all know.  And I couldn't (and can't) help but feel really peaceful that when he takes his last breath (be it in 10 days or 10 years), that the sum of his years will be a life fully lived, not a life cut short.  A life FULL.  A life FILLED.  A life fulfilled.

So I guess I want to say I'm sorry.  I rushed to judgment about your life cut short.  While I'll never stop selfishly wishing it was longer so I could have known you more, I'll spend less time dwelling on what it wasn't and instead be thankful for what it was...full and filled.  We can talk more about it on my glory day.  Until then, know that I love you and still think of you.


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