Friday, March 10, 2006

Chin Up!

My dearest friend lost her grandfather last night.

She called him Papaw... growing up in Texas and all. Her grandparents have lived in this small lake town in East Texas and attend the same church as Lance Armstrong's grandfather for many years. Aww. That just made me smile. It would make you smile, too, if you ever visit this sweet small town a couple hours from Dallas.

Brenda's grandparents "Mamaw and Papaw" were still driving all over the place just a couple of months ago. But ya know, what happens when old age sets in. It just sets in. They are in their mid 90s. It tears my heart out. You can't fight old age. It's a dirty trick .. this growing old.

Papaw was so alert to the end, but his lungs filled up. I knew him for more than ten years but only really knew him a short time. The first time I met him was July 4, 1995 at his home. Brenda and I pulled into their driveway that warm windy night on Independence Day, and he was in his shop working on clocks because even in his 80s he was a clock repairman and he poked his head out from the garage and said, "Booo!" in such a cute, adorable way.

"Boo". I still see and hear his sweet voice and face and I often replay that image in my memory like a "quicktime movie".

He touched me to my core. I felt my eyes glisten with emotion.

He seemed to die without much suffering so he lived this wonderful life deep into his 90 years of life driving anywhere his next adventure would take him with his wife always by his side. There was never an ill word spoken from him. He was an incredibly wonderful loving man.

Brenda called me late last night. He had just died and she just returned from the hospital after seeing him her last time. They picked up his belongings.

When we said our goodbyes, I said, "Chin up!"

It was an expression I have never said before.

She said, "whaat?"

It sorta caught me off guard, too.

I said, "chin up! Keep your chin up."

She said, "Shawn! That's exactly what Papaw would say to me each time we said "our goodbyes".. He would say "chin up!"

It sent a chill through me.

Chin up, Brenda.

I heard you, Papaw. Thanks for your message.


Janet said...

Oh..I'm so sorry!This growing old is a dirty trick sometimes isn't it.At my age, I'm becoming so aware of my parents age and health.Every day with them is a blessing!

ValGalArt said...

WHOA, I got choked up on this one! Your posts are always straight from your heart and this is no exception! Bet Brenda feels lucky to have a grandpa like him!!! You are a wonderful friend.

Courtney said...

I too had a maw-maw and paw-paw who lived in East Texas. Jacksonville, to be exact, you brought back many warm meomories, thanks. :)