Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Losing Both Grandparents

Nearly a year ago I had a dream that felt so incredibly real. My grandpa told me that his time was coming. That I needed to be ready. “But Christie,” he said, “Nothing good lasts forever.”

I begged him to stay. I saw this amazing light, like the most incredible sunset imaginable. Then this presence of warmth filled my soul as he shuffled off in his slippers and his famous red flannel shirt and worn corduroy pants toward the light.
Can you hear the laughter? My grandpa said something naughty here... :) 

Nothing beats a hug from grandma. Nothing.

“No!” I yelled.

The light flashed like one of those old school TVs when you actually had to get up and turn it off. I woke. The room was dark. Silent. I felt weird. I nudged Karl. “I think my grandpa died.”

It was 3 a.m. I started to panic. But I waited until 7 to call him – on my way to the dentist of all places. My grandma answered and giggled at the urgency in my voice and as I tripped over my words explaining my dream. “How come nobody has dreams about me?" She asked. She pulled the phone away. "Gramps, this one’s for you.”

“Haalloo.” He said in his Polish accent that I love so much.  

He was alive! Whew. Tears sprang to my eyes. We talked about my dream and both giggled. I felt relief. I hung up.

Then panic washed over me. Because I knew death wasn't going to go away. It's our one guarantee here. I knew the end was coming sooner than it was later. And there was nothing I could do about it.

My grandma died a week after our son Nathan was born this October. We knew my grandpa would soon follow. Their love story was more than a treasure, more than words that fill the pages of a good romance novel. They set an example for all of us. To me, being picky was worth having a piece of what they had in their marriage. They taught us that things and stuff are just things - you can't take them with you - but love is EVERYTHING. They taught us that God is worth getting to know. That it’s OK to be goofy and weird if it means you get to be YOU.

Laughter always followed them. Always.  
These dimples live on in me. And in Nathan. 

The sillier, the better!

Nobody wants to say goodbye. Karl was bold enough to insist we see my grandparents last summer after leaving my parent’s house even if it meant driving a few more hours out of our way with a toddler. I was stressing. Car rides are not always fun with kids. But Karl saw through the lens of a caring heart. He was able to take my frustrations and emotions and make the best decision ever. I got to see them both and set everything else going on in my life aside.

We thought we could be saying goodbye to my grandpa that day as he had clots building in his heart. Instead, I was actually saying goodbye to my grandma without realizing it. I still remember the way she greeted us that day. Open arms, her dimples, her smell. Thank GOD, Karl drove right instead of going straight that day.

Karl insisted I call my grandpa to say goodbye recently. It was a busy Saturday. I hadn't showered. I had a million excuses building. I don’t like crying. I don’t like people seeing me cry. I especially don’t like my boys to see mommy sad. But I called. And as soon as I heard his voice, I let everything out. I cried so hard I couldn’t stop. Jackson was worried. Nathan joined me. But this is life. They have to see mommy sad so when they have to decide to go straight or right one day, they choose right. No regrets.

My grandpa just listened to me go on and on about what he meant to me. He tried to speak but I kept going, sobbing. I needed to get it all out. And just like in that dream, my grandpa caught his breath and said, “Christie, nothing good lasts forever.”

There is dancing in heaven, right?

The hairs on the back of my neck stood.
We were allowed to drive the orange truck at age 10 at their house. 

My grandpa died today. I have this visual of he and my grandma dancing and laughing. I can imagine the reunion was glorious. And I like to think our family dog was there wagging his stubby tail too.
They were so good at making us laugh. Making us feel loved. Making us feel like we were the most important person in the room - their world -  at that very moment. Like we were “their best”. And in today’s world, that is more than impressive.
My grandma cried when she met me because I had her dimples

Like I said...we could ALWAYS be ourselves. The weirder, the better!

My grandparents invested interest and time into us and our wild side too. Beer and polka? SURE! Let's go! Take us to the bars, kids!

My heart is incredibly heavy. I am not sure I have totally grieved the loss of my grandma yet since I want to cry but I’m off to nurse and change a diaper, or am wrestling an overtired toddler half the time, running off to work and making sure I don’t forget to pack bibs or extra socks for the boys. But this is the life I'm living. And I'm OK with that too because I feel blessed at the same time too. It's kind of crazy. Have I processed it all? Will I ever?

My grandparents played flip cup with us when we were all in college. FUN. FUN. FUN.

Was it supposed to be this way? The timing? Was God giving me a heads up? Did he want me to stare at my boys and know and feel that love that only parents can feel? Almost like He was saying… 

Trust me. Do not be afraid. I am still here. When it’s good, it’s so good. I know. But with good comes hurt. And I can't stop it. I need you to understand the difference so you don’t take these amazing moments for granted. I am hurting right alongside with you, but this isn’t the end. Your grandparents are safe with me and loved to the infinite. Look into your children's eyes. You have quite the journey here to live. Don’t be sad for too long. Love so hard that it hurts. Soon enough, the Circle of Life will come again. It always does. Hang on to those happy memories you have right in front of you, take them and breathe life into new ones so your grandparents live on forever and will always be in your heart.

Amen. God. Amen. Hold them tightly for me, OK? They really love to polka so if you could round up a few folks for a polka fest, that would be awesome.