Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Twenty Years Later

I missed the fall of the Berlin wall twenty years ago, because that was also the day my grandfather passed away - a week to the day after his son died. The compounded grief and caring for other family members and friends absorbed the entire day and there was no time to watch the news or pick up a paper. It was long before I had the internet -much less a cell phone with text and twitter.

Times have changed since then.

The news regarding the anniversary of the Berlin wall in the last few days has had me remembering my grandfather. For me the two event will always be linked. I was lucky to be 23 before he passed, so I had much time to make memories share time with him, but I still miss sharing all the good things (and bad) that have happened in the years since that time. In all the thoughts I've had, I keep going back to my grandfather's funeral and the sense of joy that I felt through the entire service.

My grandfather's funeral was a true service of celebration of a long, full life. My grandfather truly lived until he died. He did not have a slow degeneration, but an active lifestyle until the very end. Reaching 87 is nothing to disregard - though it was a bit young for my family. Many people find it odd that I had so much joy at my grandfather's funeral, but it was so natural for me.

Joy is far different than happiness. I was mourning the loss of someone I loved very much and whom I miss to this day. I was able to draw joy out of the span and quality of life he lived. He died as he would have wished - and in the end, is there really anything more any of us can ask. I celebrated his life then and I continue to celebrate it now.

When the day comes, I can only hope those standing at my graveside have can say the same about me and walk away with the same joy.
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