On life

29 Nov

As a small child I dreamed of my death.

In dreams, I was conscious of the fact that I was underground, my body was decomposing, and those who I loved and who loved me were beginning to forget I existed. Morbid, I know. In these nightmares, I transformed from a girl, to a mother, to a grandmother, to nothingness.

When I went crying upstairs to my dad, he let me sit down and told me that he used to be afraid of dying, too. But the secret was to live a good life. To be happy. To live and love fully and completely. So that when the time came for your life to be over, you were good and ready for it to be over.

Grandpa Behrns, November 2010

 

While talking to my grandma last week, she said, “I lost my navigator.” She launched into a monologue about driving, but in my mind, these words meant so much more. Grandma has always taken care of everyone; she raised her kids, cared for her father, and doted lovingly on Grandpa. I dreaded dialing the phone — what do you say to someone who made a vow “until death do us part” only to have that vow run its course?

It turns out, all you need to say is, “I love you.” Grandma spoke of the love surrounding her, and how losing Grandpa won’t completely sink in until the hectic days of arrangements and visitors are over. Before we hung up, she said, “If the world had as much love as we all do for each other, there wouldn’t be any of this terrible stuff going on.” We’re lucky to have each other.

Grandpa spoke this summer about his disappointment in his waning energy levels; he couldn’t spend much time in his workshop anymore, but he was thankful to leave the grandkids with sets of coffee tables and end tables that he had built with his own hands. Grandpa lived the kind of life Dad told me to live. He built a successful business, grew a wonderful family, and lived a life filled with tales of adventure. He was good and ready for it to be over.

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2 Responses to “On life”

  1. Laura Belle December 3, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    I’m so sorry for your loss Leanna. Death is always a shock, even when you expect it. I recently lost my grandmother (last week) and it still hasn’t sunk in. The advice from your father was very wise. It seems almost cliché but it’s never more clear than when someone in your life is no longer there. The love from a life well and fully lived is what remains here with us.

  2. Walter December 7, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Death is a very sad fact of life and is very painful to accept. I hope that one day, when this fragile life is over, it will exist no more.

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