At 6:30 a.m, a man’s life quietly went out.
His life faded as so many before him have gone, receding as the tide, surrounded by the family that he had created, the wife that had loved him faithfully, the house that he had made a home.
When we heard of my husband’s grandfather’s death, there were no dramatic tears or outpouring of sorrow. There was just a silent hug to my husband as he walked out of the door to work, a kiss met with downcast eyes for the man that had given so much.
And when I turned back around to face the inquiring faces seated at the breakfast counter, I noticed something.
The coffee smelled just a little bit more rich.
My love for the three little people in the kitchen felt just a little more full.
And the sky–the morning sky blazed just a bit brighter.
So many times in my life, I am afraid of living life.
The everyday worries of living–does my hair look ok? Do these people think I’m boring? I can’t go out–I have nothing to wear.
I fret and fit, thinking I will fail, sure that that which I think I might deserve is probably just my selfish thinking.
But this man–
This was a man who never doubted.
The first time I met Grandpa Schlaud he was skinning a raccoon out in his barn. When the boy that would become my husband walked me out to meet the man that he looked to be, he unconsciously extended a hand out to me, which I’m convinced still had bits of skin and fur stuck to it.
He lived a life of hard work and family and farm and woodworking.
And man, did he live.
As we sat in the church, the final Mass we would attend together, the priest gestured widely around us, pointing out all that would live on through Grandpa’s hands. His hands, those which he sacrificed for his love of life, tips of fingers gone missing in the art that sprung from those gifted hands. A rising stone wall, gracing the altar, wooden cabinets, a soaring bell tower that clanged loud and clear as his grandsons lifted his coffin to its final resting place.
In the end, he went, not necessarily with a quiet wisdom, but with a fierce love for the life he had lived here on Earth. The finite body couldn’t cope with an infinite spirit.
Now we are left, to live as the man who did before us.
Without a longing for what may come.
Because what we have, right now, is enough.