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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Have you ever run across something small and simple that you have not seen in many years, only to have a series of memories spark in directions you otherwise would not experience?
This very thing happened to me last week when I saw these:
Out of the packaging, they look like this:
These little things are balls of gooey coconut covered in various flavors of a specific fondant.  The significance behind these things is that I did not like them as a child, but they were something my paternal grandmother kept in her house fairly often.  I had not seen these since I was little kid, so I had no choice but to buy a bag for no other reason than memories.  And it was worth my time.

These are my dad's parents (Nanny and PawPaw).  Their house was (and still is) right next door to my parents' house.  When I was growing up, they were always right there, within earshot of me and that meant I spent quite a bit of time with them.  Sometimes I would rake up leaves in their yard and my grandmother would give me a quarter.  I would run through the bedsheets she hung on her clothes line in the summer months.  They, my parents, my uncle, my sister, and myself would all sit in a swing under an oak tree and eat watermelon when they were ready to be picked from the garden.  I would climb their cherry tree and throw the red ones down to my sister while they watched us;  the same with the mulberry tree.

My paternal grandparents were older than those of most kids my age.  I am currently twenty-seven years old (born in 1986) but my grandfather was born in 1905 and my grandmother in 1913.  In 1994, after watching him struggle with old age and cancer for quite some time, we lost my grandfather;  I was eight years old.  Two years later in 1996, my grandmother also slipped away from us.   Losing someone who was there for your entire existence when you are that young is confusing and heartbreaking, but it helped me understand how life and death work much earlier than most.  I was very shocked at the amount of people I knew in my early twenties who were of my same age, but had never been to a funeral or had to cope with the death of someone they love.  Maybe the accepting nature of a child's mind processes something so traumatic in a different way than someone of a more developed mind.  Maybe that is a good thing.  

These are my maternal grandparents (Granny and Pop):
Granny was fun because whenever my sister and I would spend the night, she would get us up around midnight to feed us junk food.  She always wanted the biggest Christmas tree she could fit in the den, whether real or fake and my sister and I helped her decorate it every single year while Pop watched from the couch.  My grandfather cooked breakfast every morning, so when we stayed over it was always bacon and eggs with toast.  He is also part of the reason I have become a car guy as well as one of my biggest encouragement figures when I became interested in music.  

Unfortunately, my maternal grandparents both shared the same smoking habit but both set out to quit in the 1990's.  While I have no concrete proof, I am not entirely sure Granny ever fully quit smoking in her lifetime.  After years of seeing her suffer with respiratory issues, she succumbed to lung cancer complications in 1999, when I was thirteen years old.

My grandfather went on to beat lung cancer twice, but ultimately, the emphysema from years of smoking and the other tissue damage caused by the habit gave him a tough last few years.  He never really complained about his condition that I am aware of, and fought in his own stubborn way until the end, which, for him came in 2008.

Now, why did I write this?  Well, it was sprung from that day I came across the coconut bon bons in the grocery store.  The real reason is because I believe life should be treasured, and everyone should be remembered.  Your life and health have nothing to do with age, as my paternal grandparents outlived both of my maternal grandparents by nearly two decades.  But what I have come to realize is that time is irrelevant when we are talking about the quality of life lived and the support and love given by those around us whether spending time together as usual, or comforting someone who is slowly slipping away from us.  

At the end of the day, it is not about how much time we are given with someone, but the way in which we spend the time we do have and the legacy that is left behind.


    Today's blog did not have song lyrics as a title, and I am not going to post links to my various social media platforms here at the end as I always do.  There are over 1,000 of you who read this blog as of today and I would like you to check out the links below.  A great family who I have so much respect for has graciously started an organization named "Caring Together In Hope" with the mission of giving support to the amazing and selfless caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and Dementia in the greater Atlanta area.


Their Mission Statement:
"The Caring Together in Hope Foundation provides respite and support services to caregivers with limited financial resources who are selflessly serving those affected with dementia and related disorders."

Learn more about Caring Together In Hope here:
Or visit and "Like" their Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/CaringTogetherInHope

Thank you to my awesome readers and subscribers, as always.  

Grace and Peace,  
    -Drew
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