Sunday, May 06, 2007

Memoria: Calvacade

As I mentioned previously, I am consolidating my Memoria blog with this one. I've made minor changes to the wording here and there.

cav-al-cade n.
  1. A procession of riders or horse-drawn carriages.
  2. A ceremonial procession or display.
  3. A succession or series: starred in a cavalcade of Broadway hits.
As I have had occasion recently to share a little about my life’s history with other people, I am struck by the number of persons I've loved who have died. It may not be that I’ve lost any more than your average person, but as I get older and the road behind me gets longer and longer, the weight of it all seems greater. Okay, is that a mixed metaphor? To keep mixing those metaphors, as I’ve thought about this, I keep the word “calvacade” comes to mind. My own calvacade of stars: Grandpa, Michael, Grandma, Aunt Margaret, Uncle L.T. (Death has always brought something of the absurd to me.) I want to share a little about those featured in the parade.

Loyd Hoke Reddick. b. 27 Mar 1917, d. 22 Apr 1990

Grandpa. I was married and 25 years old when my grandfather died. That was the first significant loss of my life (by death that is.) My grandfather was my hero growing up. Having never lived with my father, Grandpa was just the nearest thing to heaven for me. He was also a little frightening. He carried an awesome authority which refused to be questioned, but he was a man who loved the Lord, a joker and a man who was full of love for his family. By the time he died, I knew more about life and understood better how my grandfather was flawed but I loved him none the less for it.

He had beautiful blue eyes and a contagious smile, big ears and a little bit of white hair. I can picture him standing with his slacks and white collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He had one characteristic I’ve never seen so strongly in any other person: his eagerness to get to church. If he wasn’t 15 minutes early, then in his mind, he was late. This had nothing to do with a love of punctuality. He truly experienced the church gathering as being in the Lord’s presence--where two or more are gathered. His heart was full of joy on Sunday mornings, evenings and Wednesday nights. Even as I write this, I don’t think I’m able to express it well enough for you to see. I witnessed it and I will never forget it.

I was very saddened by my Grandpa’s death. A sadness deepened because it followed on the heels of a miscarriage I didn’t know how to handle. Maybe because of the miscarriage though, I was prepared for his dying, my emotional soil tilled and ready to plant. Maybe it was because he was so diminished by strokes that he wasn’t really Loyd Reddick anymore. I don’t know. But that was how his death, the first, was for me. Sad but acceptable. The others were different for me, each in their own unique way.

... to be continued


Beck said...

When I was born, I had seven grandparents.
By the time I was 30, I had one. So this post really meant a lot to me...

Julie Pippert said...

I'm struck, so struck, by the beauty and love you find in yourself for your family. I'm also awestruck by how well you convey it.

Very moving.

Mel said...

I never got a chance to know my grandparents.
What a joy to have had the chance to come to know yours.

ewe are here said...

My grandfather passed on my 26th birthday and I 'knew' it. I left a law school class to make a call to my mom sensing something was wrong with the world. He was gone.

Lovely, lovely post.

EnnuiHerself said...

Of my four grandparents, I've only known my paternal grandmother. She's a lovely, kind woman who, while doing well now, was quite ill last Fall. She will be 95 this Fall and I know her time is limited. I dread her passing because she will be probably the first "real" death that I will have to deal with.

Your post about your Grandpa's death is sort preview of "things to come" so it affected me in an unexpected way.