Monday, August 25, 2008

More laughter than tears...

Post by: Beth

I got to spend the day yesterday with my grandmother, mom, cousin, and little cousin. Casey is my big cousin, and is Alex’s (little cousin) mom. Alex is approaching 6 years old, and is a ball of energy and a lot of fun. Casey and Alex had spent the night at Granny’s the night before – Casey and I (and the rest of the grandkids) used to spend the night at Granny and Paw-Paw’s a lot when we were little, and it’s important that the great grandchildren get to have the same experience of spending the night over there. I have great memories of painting with Granny when I was younger, watching Paw-Paw do his woodworking, and hearing Granny and Paw-Paw banter playfully back and forth. I can’t count the number of times I remember hearing Granny start talking (she likes to talk a lot and for a long time – she’s extremely “personable”) and I’d hear Paw-Paw say “Hold on, Betty.. Let me turn down my hearing aid” when he got tired of hearing her talk so much. She always just kept talking, completely undeterred.

It’s always a little different to go to their house now since Paw-Paw died about a year and a half ago. It’s great to see Granny there, and important to be there to remember the fun times, but it’s always a little different now and everyone seems to be aware that something is missing. One of the special things since Paw-Paw’s death has been to learn how everyone in the family holds different memories of him. Each member of the family came over after his death and took home something that was special to them and reminded them of Paw-Paw, and the variety of items that meant “Paw-Paw” was extremely wide and represented many different aspects of his personality. With Granny,
as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to really listen to her (no matter how much she talks ;) and that she really has some pretty wise things to say every once in a while. She also has some pretty funny things to say once in a while, and while our family isn’t quite the same without Paw-Paw, we’re so fortunate to still have Granny holding it together in her own funny ways. Since Paw-Paw’s death, she’s definitely had her moments where she gets really lonely… She does usually end up in tears for a few minutes at least once during our visits… but she also still whips out some really funny things about Paw-Paw, and they are what truly reminds me of Paw-Paw and Granny together. Yesterday was one of those times.

Alex was just old enough when Paw-Paw was still in good health to form many memories of him and to know what Paw-Paw was all about. One of the games Paw-Paw always played with her was to hide a big inflatable ball somewhere in the house every time she came over to visit, and Alex would always search for the ball and eventually find it, and he’d hide it again and the game would continue on and on that way. It turns out that this is one of Alex’s ways she “remembers” Paw-Paw and what he meant to her. I’m not sure if Granny hid the ball again before Alex came to visit this past time, or if it was just lying somewhere, but Alex “found” it, regardless. Much to her dismay, the ball had lost some if it’s air and was pretty flat, and this had never happened before while Paw-Paw was alive because he’d always re-inflate it and keep it perfectly round for her. So yesterday when she found the ball, she ran to Granny all in a tizzy as only a 5-year old can, and cried out that Paw-Paw left without blowing her ball up again. So Granny has 2 choices here: Obviously this is very sad that the 5 year old is upset that Paw-Paw died and her ball is flat and will never be blown up by him again. But as only Granny can, she also has this chance to turn this into a quip that Paw-Paw isn’t here to defend himself against. Without missing a beat, Granny takes on the same indignant look as Alex and says “He left here without finishing a lot of stuff in this house.”

When I heard this, I couldn’t help but laugh that Granny still chides Paw-Paw, even in death. If he was here, he would have had a great witty comeback for her remark. As sad as Granny is that Paw-Paw is gone, she still manages to find humor in some places where you just didn’t realize it was. Those are the times that make me understand that her humor and ability to hold her own with him is probably one of the biggest reasons Paw-Paw loved her so much, and also makes me remember Paw-Paw and Granny how they really were – playful, honest, down-to-earth, but always loving and respecting each other.

Everyone misses Paw-Paw very much, and he left his mark on this family and I have no doubt we’ll carry on his stories and memories for a long time to come. There’s no better catalyst than Granny to help us do that, and as long as she keeps her sense of humor about him, there may still be tears every once in a while, but there will always be more laughter, and that’s exactly how Paw-Paw would want it.


Hershbine Family said...

thanks for sharing the story... I should share it on my site, too. everything you say is so true and especially when you say it is how pawpaw would want it to be... I (even at his funeral) could just imagine the wise cracks or the diversions with something silly to get us to move on to something else and quit being so sad. I miss him so much and cherish every moment that I still have with Granny. We did have a good time, but I think we wore her out!! thanks for the post, and the shout-out.
your big cousin (thanks)

Rhonda Walker said...

thanks for the sweet words. that was a funny story and so typical of our family. i love you, mom