Laughter and tears, tears and laughter. How could you ask for two better emotions? When tears and laughter meet, well then you have a celebration. I know. I've been to many celebrations. My most recent celebration? When I bid farewell to Grandpa. I know farewells are not typically celebrations, but my Grandpa wasn't just a typical grandpa.
Beginning to say farewell to Grandpa, with tears ever-present, my cousins and I sit in the first two rows of the church pews. Three boxes of tissues evenly spaced between our feet. The service begins somberly with the torturous droning of the organ music. Looking left then right my sisters smile at me as I express my hatred for that music. Our tears are then joined by silent laughter.
My cousin's husband stands before us to guide our farewell to grandpa. Our laughter leaves, and we return to our tears alone as music is sung and the obituary is read. I begin feeling that Grandpa is far away from here. What would he think about this? Would he like it? These moments are so sad, so formal. Grandpa's not here. This isn't him.
Ripped from my wonders, I hear my aunt sharing her thoughts about her father. She shares his life. She shares his thrills. She shares his faith. Suddenly, I can feel Grandpa again. His laughter echoes around me through his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. My tears are joined by laughter yet again. Grandpa's closest friends come forward sharing hunting and fishing stories. We laugh through memories of Grandpa catching gobs of fish, much more than his legal limit. We laugh through stories of tracking deer. When my cousin's husband reminds us of the Thanksgiving when Grandpa woke Grandma up before 6 am when he shot his muzzle-loader from their spare bedroom, we forget our tears completely for those gigantic belly laughs. Apparently if Grandpa couldn't go out to hunt, he found a seemingly great alternative. Amidst my belly ache I glimpse Grandpa once again. He filled life with laughter, passion and love. I said farewell to Grandpa today, but I can't wait to glimpse him again in the people and world around me.