Saturday, June 28, 2008

Longest day in the U.P.

The following is an excerpt from my journal on 6/20/08.

Today was the longest day of the year. The sun didn't set until almost 10:00 p.m. and it didn't get completely dark until around 11:00. However, the day didn't feel painfully long in any way. In fact, it was almost enjoyably long. I spent time with my grandma. I saw cousins, aunts, and uncles I haven't seen for a long time. I got to meet some of my cousins' kids for the first time. I experienced a day of beautiful summer weather in the U.P. (That's a rare occurrence in and of itself!) It was really a lovely day.

It was neat to be re-live moments and thoughts of my childhood that I haven't experienced for years, yet it was weird that one major component of my memories isn't here anymore. It's strange to see Grandma without Grandpa. She looks a little lost. It's no wonder. They were married for 63 years and he adored her. It was interesting to see her receive the newspaper today and immediately turn to find his obituary. The biggest news to her was reading about her husband's death, something I'm not quite sure she's fully accepted yet. She did read one part aloud to us, "to whom he was dearly devoted." My mom responded, "That's you," followed a moment later by, "and he was." My grandpa was such a wonderful man and I'm glad we've all come together to celebrate his life and remember him.

It's so hard for me to begin using the past tense for him. It's also hard for me to refer to them singularly. They've always been Grandma & Grandpa Rajala. As my mom put it, "They truly were one. At best, the two of them together made up one person. In the later years it was always Dad's body and Mom's mind."

So far, there haven't been a lot of tears. Everyone seems to have accepted things pretty matter-of-factly. Yet, I think Sunday will still be emotional. I'm not afraid of that. My grandpa deserves our emotion, to see our feelings and feel our loss.

I miss him. I miss his calming presence, his grin of a smile, the sparkle in his warm eyes. He is at peace and I need to remember that. His kind and gentle soul belongs to God. We are here to celebrate the great life he led.

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