Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Life is a carnival

Life is a carnival.

I attended my 91-year old granddaddy's funeral yesterday, and even though he was so old, and so very loved, and had lived such an incredibly full life, I couldn't quite comprehend his death, his total absence from this earthly place. My Granddaddy was a constant in my life for as long as I can remember, and today I am once again home with my children, with the sounds of Sponge Bob in the background, with my dog licking my toes and chasing his chewed up tennis ball, and my Granddaddy is no more.

I was struck this morning by the absurdity and magic of it all at the same time. The last time I spoke with him was ten days ago during one of his brief moments of lucidity before his death. My mother held the phone up to his ear and he said, "Hi there Baby Jen... how's my baby?" I'm forty and the mother of two, but to Granddaddy I was Baby Jen no matter what. And the sound of those adorable words brought me back to being the little girl that I always was with him. My Granddaddy was the father of three daughters, and when his first grandaughter was born in the form of Baby Jen, I think he had once again found his calling. He was a grandfather and great grandfather to many, and each of us were sure of being his special favorite, as was I. His funeral was beautiful and tragic, and I blubbered my way through a remembrance of him to the audience in the church, which surly didn't come near to doing him justice. My greatest deed was naming my second headstrong, determined son after his headstrong, determined great grandfather. When I called my Granddaddy from Italy to tell him that we had named our baby Dana, he cried. Like the true man he was.

And then today life with all of its meaningful and meaningless moments goes on. It's as if the ferris wheel has made another turn, and just continues on to another unstoppable ride around the that neverending circle. Tragic and magical. Sweet and insignificant.


Brillig said...

I love the analogy here--the ferris wheel. I would have NEVER come up with it, but it's so perfect.

Do I understand, then, that one of your boys is named for MacGyver's father and the other is named for your grandfather? Wow.

I love that he called you Baby Jen. I'm sure you'll always feel tenderness for him when you think of that phrase.

Beautiful post, Jennifer.

Betsy said...

This was a beautiful post!

And I was sitting here reading this with tears in my eyes and had to laugh because Sponge Bob is on in the background here as well...

What's that ancient saying about happiness and sadness being two sides of the same coin? Because it sounds like the very reason his passing is so heartwrenching is because he enriched your life so much while he was alive.

Did your children have the chance to get to know him at all? My wonderful Grandmother died just three months after our first son was born and never got to meet him. (Which is making me tear up again even as I type this.)

I wish you strength and many warm memories during your time of healing...

Jenn in Holland said...

And then today life with all of its meaningful and meaningless moments goes on.

Brilliant words Jennifer, as always. I wish you love and peace as you work through the emptiness. I miss mine too.

anno said...

It's good to see you back, Jennifer. This is beautiful.

Jen said...

Amazing post, Jennifer. Just beautiful. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful Granddaddy in your life.

knicksgrl0917 said...
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ByJane said...

Your post reminded me of what made my mother's funeral less unbearable: I was holding her six month old greatgrandson. His father handed him to me at the gravesite, knowing that that was exactly what I needed.

Fourier Analyst said...

Ah sweet Jennifer. Your pain just flows off the page and into my heart and I hurt for/with you. I know the sadness of being so far away from a loved one who is dying. It's especially hard when you are far away and you somehow think that if you had just been by his/her side, things would have turned out different. You have accepted your sad loss with grace and poignancy.

But it will of course be a long while before you get over it, and meanwhile the ferris wheel keeps going round. Sometimes you just need to hold on tight and close your eyes, let the wind blow on your face and swallow hard. When you open them again the view will be changed and hopefully the ride easier.

Lovely post. Hope there are happier times soon.


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