Friday, November 10, 2006

For Joe

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I've already lost my grandparents.. maternal and paternal, however, one lone person stepped in to fill the void, and did so admirably for a very long time, and his name was simply, Joe. Not papaw, grandpaw, or any other moniker for me, as I had all those in the past, just a simple Joe would do. After his wife of many years passed away, he began that slow slide into old age that we all saw but chose to ignore in favor of believing he'd live forever, despite his own protests and yes, wishes to the contrary.

I knew he loved her and missed her very much indeed. He lived in that house without her to fuss and fight with him for seven long and lonely years and I knew it was hard, but he did it for one reason: grandkids. Wait, let me clarify, great-grandkids. The babies, the little ones and up until a few months ago, you could just say, the girls, then my hubby's brother finally broke the curse and made a little boy.

So, after drifting along in a life that must have seemed half full, made only brighter by the visits of the children of his grandchildren, and yes, the most recent addition to the family by his own son, Joe somehow kept his cheerful demeanor around him. I knew he missed her, as he'd tell us. I knew he felt his time was nearing an end, as he informed me of this when he had an xray during his last hospital stay. His "I'm bout ready for the boneyard." was met with a, "Aw, Joe, don't say that." by me and a hug. But, somehow, I felt he meant it this time.

With him, I've seen my own child have contact with someone who is older and wiser and she's learned patience. She's very good with the elderly,and I'm proud of her. With him, I've seen that old age is a sly and steathly thing that slips up on you without you really knowing it's happening until it's too late to do anything about it but sit there in your chair and let it run its course. With him, I've learned that heredity is alive and well and you'll reap what you've sown in the form of your grandchildren. One took him for long rides, another is shy and quiet, yet another is stoic, and all, including my husband are remarkably good with children.

I know that looking into his face, hearing his soft, time-worn voice, and even hisstoop-shouldered shuffle are like stepping into a time-machine and going into the future fifty years to have a gander at my husband. To look at Joe, his own son and my hubby and his brothers from the back was like looking at the same man, at 20 year intervals, spooky and strangely comforting. Like some cosmic continuity was in place, a greater hand at work, Father Time maybe? I don't know.

However, the most wonderful gift that I have from Joe, is my husband himself, for I know he got his honor, his heart and his patience from the man that used to sit in the chair and play school for hours on end with a bossy little girl. And allow that same bossy little girl to put stickers and glitter on his face. That man, will always be our Joe, and one day, I know he'll be my Bill too. Until then, I'll miss him.

Love ya,

Jenna Leigh

Oh, why the picture? Well, I'd like to think that he's up there with MY pawpaw, and right about now, fishin'. Maybe their wives are fussin at them about it too, as it should be, like it was, when they were all here, as matched sets.


FeyRhi said...

What a beautiful memorial. My thoughts are with you and Bill and the rest of your family.

Mechele Armstrong said...

What a beautiful tribute. Hugs. My thoughts are with you and with Bill and the rest of the family.