It’s nice to be back here to this nice blank page.
Not that I have not wanted to be back here before now, but I have been lacking in my ability to process my thoughts.
I have had thoughts, but ones I did not think were significant enough to share or thoughts I just wanted to keep to myself.
That’s not an easy thing for me. Keeping things to myself. Wearing my heart on my sleeve is a bit of an understatement.
Maybe I have not been here in awhile because this is a vulnerable place. Sharing your heart can be a real scary thing, not only because I have set myself up to share my heart with others, but I know there’s a chance I will experience every emotion in the midst of writing. It’s almost like you have to brace yourself for the steep part of the roller coaster.
I am learning that some stories are special enough to just keep inside… to simmer, process, and enjoy before spilling dark letters on to a stark white page. Sometimes after that transpires, you hear a voice that says, “hold your shoulders back” and go for it.
In the middle of planning my wedding last year, I got this idea that I would like to dance with my granddaddy at my wedding reception. If you knew him you would know he had quite the personality. Sharp but witty… Serious but loving…The KING of puns. (His name is King and no, I am not kidding). I was very excited to dance with my new husband, and my daddy but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t get asking my granddaddy to dance with me off of my mind. So, I asked him one night on his porch and he smiled and said, “well, of course.”
Little did I know, my granddaddy decided to go take line-dancing classes at the senior center down the street from his house. I can’t say for sure that he went just to prepare for upcoming weddings, seeing that my cousin was getting married a few weeks after me. My granddaddy might have started line-dancing classes because he wanted to, to get some exercise, give him something to do in his day. He told me soon after I found out he was going, he was the only man in the class but that didn’t seem to bother him too much.
Granddaddy finished the classes and the June wedding was fast approaching.
But come early May something was not right. My granddaddy didn’t say much. Something was bothering him.
I’ll never forget going to my grandparent’s house on a Wednesday night for dessert (a family tradition) and my granddaddy spoke maybe three words that night. We knew he was hard of hearing but he never seemed mute before. He pretended to understand and smiled and nodded when we spoke to him but it was clear something was just not right.
A few days later, after doctor’s appointments, and scans, they found a tumor in my granddaddy’s brain.
At that point, a dance didn’t really seem to matter. The goal was to get granddaddy to our wedding, and I prayed fervently he would be there.
After an intense surgery, the doctor removed part of the tumor and it was almost like my granddaddy was himself again. He was talking, he was laughing, he was his witty self, and I had hope that he was going to make it to that wedding. The best part was he was so concerned about how his hair would look for the big day because the nurses shaved it before his surgery.
I can see him now combing over his pretty silver hair after one of his three showers in the day. He was a clean man….in more ways than one. A man full of integrity and kindness…and old spice and gold Listerine.
God answered prayers and there he sat on the second pew the day Patrick and I said our vows.
I decided if my granddaddy were not up to it, I would meet him at his chair for our dance.
However, after his debut on the dance floor doing the Cupid Shuffle, and absolutely KILLING it, we decided he could handle the slow dance.
We laughed and smiled and danced to “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra.
You would have thought granddaddy was 20 years old that night. I will never forget that moment. There are some moments in life that the Lord gifts you with that no one can ever take away from you.
That was one of those moments for me and it always will be as long as I live.
My Granddaddy passed away a year ago today June 26, 2015. Just 20 days after that dance. Now he is dancing in heaven and he is still KILLING it.
I work for a non-profit in Murfreesboro and last week I attended a meeting where many agencies were present. As we went around the room to tell about our services, the lady sitting behind me said, I am Connie and I work for the senior center in town.
After the meeting broke I turned around and told Connie the experience I got to share with granddaddy on my wedding day. I told her those dance classes meant the world to me and my entire family because we got to see the patriarch of our family having so much fun that night.
She and I wiped away tears from our eyes and she explained that’s why they do what they do, for stories like this one.
This special story for my family and me may not mean much to you.
If anything, I hope you can look back on those special memories, the ones that you can to tuck away in your heart and no one can ever steal from you. You don’t even have to let people know. Those memories can just be for your memory file.
Give the ones you love an extra squeeze, take lots of pictures, and thank the people who made those memories possible.
My granddaddy always told me, “Hold your shoulders back.” It is in your vulnerabilities that you find a bit of confidence in there somewhere.
Thank you for reading, friends.