A Reflection

I don’t have much to share today.  No real Thursday things or thoughts or tips to share.  Instead, I have been reflecting on last December, quite a bit, over the last few weeks.  A year ago, tomorrow, is when my Grandpa passed away.

He had a long, hard, brave battle with cancer, and it ultimately took him from us, but I firmly believe he was finally reunited with Grandma in heaven, just in time for Christmas.  I miss him every day, and just as his stories were told time and time again, I find little ways to work him into conversation, and his stories live on.

So much has changed in these last 12 months, some good, and some bad.  Some things changed for better things to come in, and some things have left holes in my heart, and my Grandpa’s death is a huge hole in my heart.

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i carry your heart with me (i carry it in 
my heart)i am never without it (anywhere 
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done 
by only me is your doing, my darling) 
                                                      i fear 
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want 
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) 
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant 
and whatever a sun will always sing is you 
 .
here is the deepest secret nobody knows 
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud 
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows 
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) 
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart 
.
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
                                                       e. e. cummings

Dear Grandpa

Dear Grandpa, you’ve been a part of my life before I can even remember.  You met me when I was only minutes old, and have been by my side for over 28 years.

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Grandpa, Grandma, and I in Atlantic City when I was about 15 months old.

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Grandpa and Kristen at Frontier Park.

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Grandpa, Kristen, and Me in the swimming pool.

Dear Grandpa, I will always remember running into Dillons and up into your office to see you.  I’ll always remember having Santa ring the doorbell and visit us on Christmas Eve while we were eating soups.  I’ll always remember the road trips we took, before and after Grandma left us.

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High school graduation and College graduation.

Dear Grandpa, I will always remember the smell of sawdust and freshly cut wood in your shop.  I will always remember you cheering at my soccer, softball, and basketball games, and coming to birthday parties, concerts, and graduations.

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Dear Grandpa, I will always remember going to Dairy Queen on warm summer nights, “helping” you in the garden and in the shop, playing “kitchen” in your basement, and looking through hundreds of old baseball cards.

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Dear Grandpa, I will always remember you driving me to karate tournaments way down in Liberal or Garden City early on a Saturday morning, and going to the county and state fairs year after year.

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Dear Grandpa, I will always remember you teaching me about how to drive in a big city with traffic, why it’s important to measure twice and only cut once, and to always give a hug at the beginning and end of a visit.

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Dear Grandpa, Mom always says Kristen and I are your girls, and she and Dad are just borrowing us.  It’s times like this that I know it’s true, when your eyes lit up when we came in the room.

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Dear Grandpa, Give Grandma a big HUG from me.  I am going to miss you more than you know, and more than I even know.  I know you are with Grandma, and you aren’t in any more pain.  Enjoy the square-dance you and Grandma are undoubtedly dancing, and always watch down on me, I’ll make you proud.

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Dear Grandpa, you’ve showed me how to love, how to live, and how to be happy and share that happiness with others.  You never met a stranger in your life, you could talk anyone’s ear off, and always had something in common.  Thank you for sharing your love of life on to me.

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Top left, Kristen and Grandpa. Top right, Ava and Grandpa. Bottom right, Grandpa and Me. Bottom right, Mom and Grandpa.

Dear Grandpa, I’m going to miss you, but the world is a better place because you were here.  I have no doubt in my mind that you are already in heaven, and that you will celebrate and dance with Grandma until we can meet you again.  Rest in peace, you deserve it.

Love, Renee

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Thursday Thoughts: December 18

This week has been a trying week, especially for my family.

Friday, I got a very sad phone call, my family’s cat, Cooper, was hit by a car and he passed away.  Cooper was the most lovable, cuddly cat you’ve ever met, he would snuggle you to death, and drown you in happy purring kitty drool.  RIP Cooper, we all know you’re getting belly rubs and chasing squirrels and mice in Kitty Heaven now.

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Saturday, I came home to Hays to spend a little time with Grandpa.  He had been doing progressively worse, and the Hospice nurses and family in town thought he would be leaving us over the weekend.  Just after midnight this morning, Grandpa passed away.  I am so thankful I got a chance to see him and talk to him a few more times before he went to see Grandma.  I wrote him a little letter, reminiscing on just a few memories.

He was such a fighter, one of the strongest men I knew.  It was really sad seeing some of Grandpa’s friends come in and see him, and to see how touched his brothers and sister are to have family close by.  Grandpa has touched a lot of lives, and he will be missed, but I have no doubt in my mind that he went straight to Heaven to be with Grandma.

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Sunday morning Mom, Kristen, Shay and I went on a run; it was nice to spend a little time on the pavement after having a few days off last week and again this week.  I had hoped and planned to run 100 miles (at least) in December, because my total as of the end of November was 800 miles, and I wanted to make 900 miles, but with traveling and Grandpa’s condition, I took 4 days off last week and have taken off 2 days this week… I’ll try to maintain my mileage through the holidays, but doubt I’ll reach 900 for the year.  I’ve outlined my goals for running in 2015, check them out here.

Granddad also ordered some Altra’s, this week, and I was pretty excited that Golden Harper, co-founder of Altra commented on my Altra Torin Review post.  Mom is looking at some Altra’s too, we’re going to be an Altra family soon!

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Clockwise starting with puppy feet, Shay, Kristen, Mom, and Me.

Tuesday night we made chili and cinnamon rolls at home, and even though Kristen and Thayne put some icky dry Mustard, Paprika, and Cumin in it, it was pretty tasty.  Since moving to KC and having chili a few times since I’ve been there, I’ve noticed that nobody has chili with cinnamon rolls, it must be a German thing.  Ya’ll are missing out, not having your cinnamon rolls with your chili.  I think Thayne takes it a bit too far though, he puts his cinnamon roll at the bottom of his bowl, then piles chili on top.  I tried taking a bite of chili and cinnamon roll at the asme time, and it was pretty tasty, but I don’t think I could have a cinnamon chili bowl like Thayne.

Photo Dec 16, 6 58 56 PM Dad and Shay had a really special cuddle time with Shay.  She lays down if you try to pick her up, so Dad picked her up and then flipped her over like a baby.

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It’s finally feeling like December weather outside, the weather has been so warm lately, it’s kind of refreshing and nice that it is finally cold.  And now that it’s cold, we can have fires! James and I have had a couple fires, and Dad’s started a few since I was home this past week too.  Lucy, Mom and Dad’s little kitty, loves laying by the fire, her fur is so warm and toasty, she just loves it.Photo Dec 16, 6 50 28 PM

I got to see my very favorite Christmas lights/decoration while I was in Hays.  This house ALWAYS has this display up, and it reminds me of driving around looking at Christmas lights as a kid. Photo Dec 16, 10 12 51 PM

Grandpa was still fighting the good fight on Wednesday, so I decided to go back home to KC for a couple days and get back to work.  Driving home on Wednesday afternoon, I started listening to Serial Podcast.  I’ve heard of a lot of runners talk about listening to this while they run, and it is apparently the HOTTEST podcast on Earth right now.  I binge-listened to 5 episodes on my way from Hays to KC, and can’t wait to listen to more.  I definitely recommend it, very captivating, I can’t wait to find out what happens.  It’s a true story about a murder that happened in 1999, and getting to the bottom of who really killed the young woman.

Today, I’m going to finish up some laundry and head back to Hays to be with family and stay through Christmas, and James will join for the funeral and for Christmas.  I can’t believe Christmas is in a week; are you ready?  Have you ever eaten cinnamon rolls with your chili?