Friday, August 27, 2010

Threads of Life

President Dwight David Eisenhower once said, "There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." The same can also be said for grandparents.

I know so many things in my life ended with the passing of my grandparents, Cecil and Dimple Speck, in 1986. After he died, she said that she did not want to live without him and two weeks later she passed away. It was a sad time for my family. They were the cornerstone of our lives. Everything was built around them; holiday meals, love, encouragement and solid to the core advice. Suddenly all of that came to end never to be again, only remembered. I loved spending the night with them and sitting at the kitchen table listening to my grandmother tell stories from her childhood and stories of other family members. I think that is where my love for genealogy began. She would also read from the bible and would instruct us. I recall with great sadness the day she asked me why I had stopped coming to see her. You see, I had gotten older and I let things drag me away from her kitchen table. She died before I could go back there and I so sorely regret that.

I believe that no one single event ever occurs; that whenever something happens, if you look around, you will find something else has occurred related to that one event. I believe the people in our lives; our family, friends, neighbors, even strangers we meet, are there for a purpose. I believe as we get older, we are able to retain certain memories and recall certain times in our lives for a reason. Like patchwork, the threads of life are woven together to make us what we are or what we are to become. That is how a friend of mine described it and I think she is right. Life is fragile and the older I get the more aware I am of just how fragile it really is.

I read obituaries for a living and sometimes they are hard to read. The older I get, the more I know the name of the deceased. The very morning my grandfather, Cecil, died I had to read his obituary on the air. Someone commented later that they could not believe how I was able to do that. I just remember that it was hard to do. I grew up in radio and was surrounded by great men and women, who not only taught me everything about radio, but they also taught me a lot about life. I ended up writing and reading all of their obituaries and now I am carrying on without them. It isn't always easy.

Watching them, and others, live and die has taught me to enjoy life more. I want to live my life to its fullest every single day that I have left. I am not interested in when I will die. I am going to enjoy today.

I can't imagine living with someone for 50 years but I can understand why Dimple did not want to go on living after Cecil died. Laying in her hospital bed, with her children gathered around her and unable to speak, she took her finger and wrote B-U-Z-Z in the air. Buzz was my grandpa's nickname. She was telling them she wanted to go be with him. A couple of days later, she did.

After my grandpa's death, my grandma began writing a poem, but she died before she could finish it. My dad finished it for her and read it at her funeral.

Today Lord, I'm leaving my loved ones and my home
But I won't be fearing for I won't be alone
You'll be there beside me when I cross to the other shore
Home Sweet Home eternal, never to die no more

In 1843, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote "It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards, but they forget the other proposition, that is must be lived forwards." So, forward I day at a time, weaving the threads of life as I go. I miss my friends and family who have gone on before me, especially Dolly Dimple Speck. To borrow a line from Kierkegaard, 'Of all the things I inherited from her, the mere recollection of her is more dearest to me.

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