Monday, October 13, 2008

The circle of life

Grandma Dee Dee, Pop Pop and their five sons

When boys become men, they really stay boys just in bigger bodies.

Grandma Dee Dee and her grandchildren.

If the rays of sunlight could have reached out and tickled our noses, I think it would have. Shining through the window, the sun breached the thin layer of skin blocking the world from our delicate eyes. At one time, one of us was a morning person (not me), early to rise and ready for the day, but those days have passed. Kyle has been converted and one of the greatest pleasures in life is lazily waking on one's body clock rather than the alarm clock for the great roll out of bed. After breakfast we settled down to work on some good ole Spanish when the phone rang. Kyle's mother was calling with the news of Grandma Dee Dee. She was sick with an infection in her intestines which prevented her life support of dialysis. This meant that Grandma Dee Dee was not much longer for this world unless some miracle occurred. I was raised in a family of fixers, something can always be done. I wanted to know that something could be done. There had to be something that could fix Grandma Dee Dee. We couldn't let something that seemed so trivial slowly drain her life. As I looked up plane tickets back to Texas, I prayed for a miracle, surely this wasn't the end of an era of such a great woman.

As I sat wishing for her extended life I got to thinking about life and life's cycles. These bodies we are born into are such a blessing and yet a curse. They help us to navigate the world into which we are born, giving us the ability to run, jump and roll in the grass. But they don't always stay strong and often turn on us in the end. We are born into delicate baby bodies that require nutrients and nurturing. We grow quickly into little humans, but much more bouncy and resilient than adults, more like bouncy balls than ceramic vases. We continue to grow up towards the world of adults growing stronger everyday until we reach our tipping point. The tipping point is different for everyone, sometimes it starts as early as in the 20's, and sometimes it waits until the 50's. Our bodies continue to grow and strengthen until we hit our peak, and the aging process begins the decent into the valley of decay. Often times we can hold off the decline by taking care of ourselves, keeping our minds and bodies healthy, but healthiness is not fallible, only preventative, not a cure for the aging process. I have heard it said many times before that we are dying from the time we are born. Maybe that's true and maybe it's not but they definitely are unpredictable. Our bodies are like a house, as soon as you have the money to put down a new floor, the refrigerator and the AC go out at the same time. Our bodies change from a smooth running vehicle that gets us from here to there, and everywhere to a hindrance, keeping us from experiencing the life for which we were made. I wish we could live in our bodies without the fear of the decline. We would be born, grow up, stay strong and die of something specific, not the shutting down of our systems one by one until we are trapped in our cursed bodies. I wish we could be like an ever-lasting gobstopper, almost impossible to destroy, except maybe with a hammer. But those are dreams, and this is reality. One reason, I had such a hard time accepting Dee Dee's fate was because her health had seemed to improve so dramatically over the last couple of years. Dialysis had done wonders for her and in my mind she was stronger than ever, or at least much stronger than she had been in the past. But in the end, her body was more fragile than I had thought, and it wasn't the ever-lasting gobstopper, just a regular body, imperfect and fallible.
Grandma Dee Dee's death not only started me thinking about our bodies' cycles but also the generational cycles. When we are children, we take for granted that there will always be people and/or relatives older and wiser. Parents, grandparents and sometimes even great grandparents are our families time capsules. The generations that connect us to our history and our journey and the reason we are here today. Our parents and grandparents lives often give us insight into our lives and it is hard to imagine a world without them. But like in school, how we slowly make our way up the chain from being a lowly freshman to being the king and queens of the world, Seniors, we don't have much of a choice. Life changes and we must change with it. I don't want to think of a world without my grandmother, or my parents, but we don't live forever, and one day, I will take their place as a parent, and a grandparent; the one giving advice and telling stories of how life used to be. Life moves in cycles whether we want it to or not. Grandma Dee Dee was Kyle's closest connection to his past on his father's side, and now that she is gone the world seems less complete and emptier. But we must fill it with our own stories and keep her story and those stories of the many generations before him, alive.
Grandma Dee Dee had a full and colorful life. She raised five boys and lived to see 9 grandchildren born. We are sad to see her leave us, but happy for her to continue along into her next journey as we must continue along ours.
The four generations picture of the Sanders Family. (Vanessa is the baby)

**A note to my subscribers: As in the previous post, it is sometimes a good idea to go directly to the blog as the emails don't always show everything. Anytime I post a video or animation, it will not attach to the emails. There are always two links in each email; one that is gray and says The Yellow Brick Road, and the other which is in blue and is the title of the current post. If you click on the title of the post, the blog will only display that one post so it is better to click on The Yellow brick Road.

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