Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Three Candles

My grandfather on my dad's side was a man of few words. He didn't quite know how to relate to a child - what to do, or what to say. But, I knew he loved me. I didn't really see him much, but my dad always went over to visit him, and he told me that every time he went, my grandpa, (I called him Pop-Pop), would ask a bunch of questions about me. Once, when I was about 11 or 12, my dad took me over for a couple hours, and left us alone with each other. I looked at him, he looked at me, I looked at him again. "Well, what now?", we both thought. "Would you like to watch tv?", he asked nervously. When I said, "Sure", he handed me his TV Guide. He had gone through the whole evening, half hour by half hour, and circled the shows that he thought I would like to watch! Even at that young age, I remember being touched by that small act of love. The biggest act of love, though, that I remember, is when I was older. When I was in high school, I was very interested in art, and one year for Christmas I drew or painted something for each member of my family. When I went to his home a little after Christmas, there was my drawing, proudly displayed in the middle of his living room...upside down! He didn't even know what the heck it was, but he was so proud of it!

We spent a lot of time with my grandparents on my mom's side, as I was growing up. My grandma was one awesome lady. She was real - a here I am, this is me, no bullshit type of person. (I'd like to think I inherited that trait from her). She was all about her family. She would do anything for us. We could do no wrong - she was always on our side. I swear I could have said, "I kicked a puppy", and grandma would have said, "Well, I'm sure he had it coming". She was always in the kitchen cooking, and would warn us all, "Eat up, cuz that's all yer gonna get!" Then, an hour later, she would be shoving more food at us. She was funny, without trying to be. We like to play games in my family, and one favorite was a card game, Pit. If you've never played, basically you shout out the number of cards you want to trade, "TWO! TWO! TWO!", trying to get all the same cards, without ending up holding the Bear or Bull cards. We would all be yelling, "TWO! TWO! THREE! THREE!", and grandma would yell, "BEAR! BEAR!" I knew that more than anything, she wanted me to be happy. She was so thrilled when I married Jim, because she liked him, which was no small thing because she was tough on anyone who wasn't family. After only about a year of Jim and I being married, she asked me, "Has everything checked out with you two?" "What do you mean, grandma?", I asked. "Well, WHY haven't you had a baby yet?", she exclaimed, perplexed. She was so anxious for another great grandchild! I wish she could have met Dylan. I wish I could see her face light up when he walked into the room, but I feel that she does see him, and she is smiling.

In July of 1998, my fiance, Doug, was killed when a car hit his motorcycle. What can I say about Doug? He was fun, friendly to everyone, and passionate about life and those he loved. He cherished me, and made me feel safe, beautiful, and sexy. He was like a child, experiencing life with such joy. I remember when we went to a wave pool once. It was his first time going to one. When the bell rang, and the waves started, he ran towards them, along with all the kids, riding wave after wave. He would get up after being slammed by a wave, and turn to grin at me. He was affectionate, and wore his heart on his sleeve. When we were out together, people either looked at us like, "Oh, that is so cute", or "Oh, God, get a room". When Doug asked a person "How are you?", he really cared what the answer was. He understood me - I mean really understood me. That is not to say that we didn't fight. I think because we were so much alike, emotionally, we fought quite often, usually about hurt feelings, but we resolved them with love and understanding.

When Doug died, I started going to a Catholic church near my home, to light a candle. I'm not even sure why. I'm not Catholic, and I've never done that before. But, there was something symbolic about lighting that candle. It said that his memory lived on. That I would never forget. At Christmas, I lit a candle and kept it burning all day, symbolizing his presence.

At Christmas time, I often think of the people who have meant so much to me. I think of all the people, and the memories I have of them at Christmas. I think of what they have added to my life, and how they have shaped me. Maybe this year, amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas day, you will find three candles lit at my table. But, even if they aren't on the table, they are shining brightly always...in my heart.

15 comments:

Hannah said...

What a beautiful post - you have lovely memories of those 3 special people.
At our church, we have a candle lighting ceremony and I always light candles for my Grandad and my Nana, who died when I was 8 and 11, respectively.
Memories are so special, and Christmas is a good time to remember our loved ones who have passed on. I trust your special memories will bring you comfort and joy this season!

Cecily R said...

This was a lovely post. I'm so glad for you that the memories of these three people are peaceful happy ones for you.

May you find peace in the rest of the season!

Dawn said...

This post was so poignant and sweet. I can tell these are some really special people that you still love very much.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I came here to write some snarky comment in response to your "who's the boss" comment over at my place, but then (damn you) you went and made me cry. So, no snark. Beautiful post, Jen.

Kellan said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sweet loved ones - this is certainly the time of year to remember those that have meant so much to us and your are lucky to have had these special people in your life. Lovely post. Take care. Kellan

Shellie said...

Thanks for making me cry. Thanks for sharing those special people. Life is so precious and everyone around us is too, in a way.

Pam said...

The tears are flowing! What a beautiful post...you have a talent for writing! I feel so honored to have shared in your loving and wonderful memories of 3 amazing people in your life. I hope one day that I can have had that impact on someone and be remembered so fondly.

Driving With the Brakes On said...

Beautiful and very well written. May your memories of those special people make your holidays even happier.

Joanna said...

Very touching! Now I need a kleenex. Sniff.

Becky said...

I love this post. I do the same thing, as I have many special people in my past who are no longer with me. Well, they're here, but only in spirit.

Kellan said...

Hey Jen - thanks for coming over and leaving the nice Birthday Wish for my sister - see you soon. Kellan

Jonny's Mommy said...

*sniff* Dang it..now I have to get a tissue and blow my nose. That was totally sweet. Just jumped on here from Sparx blog and I get hit with this! Man!

adam said...

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Sparx said...

Hi hon - such a lovely post - it's good you have such great memories. I've left you something over on my blog by the way.

Jen said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. This was a hard one for me to write, so your support meant a lot to me. Sorry I made you all cry, but its good to cry sometimes, right? Hope none of you were boo hooing at work, though!

Kellan, Your post about your mom got me thinking about my grandma, which resulted in this post, so thank you for the inspiration.

Pam, thank you for saying I have a talent for writing. It was something I desperately needed to hear lately.

Jonny's mommy,
Don't worry, they aren't usually so heart wrenching! Hope I didn't scare you away!

Adam, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Sparx, Thank You! I love having you for a blogging buddy.