Today, my parents picked me up from school and we headed to the Eastern Shore of Maryland (and still to this day crossing the Bay Bridge with the sunlight sparkling on the water feels like coming home) to celebrate the life of my grandfather, Ed "Pop Pop" Hosey.
I wrote about Pop Pop headin' on out of this world back in December. He wanted his body to go to a useful purpose--Pop Pop was an eminently useful dude--so he is now helping a med student somewhere learn, which is very much in keeping with the character of someone who loved giving of himself and loved learning and loved being helpful. Our family doesn't exactly do things the way most people do, so it took us a little while to get around to this whole memorial service thing. It took us all awhile to gather all of our memories, I suppose. Pop Pop had 103 years of them built up, after all.
Pop Pop's children--my dad and uncle and aunts--shared stories connected with scripture verses, and then we just left the mic open for people to talk. I read a letter from my sister, about animal shaped pancakes and cinnamon rolls and a doll house handmade just for her. I talked about Pop Pop, at age 98, sinking a monster putt on the golf course, and how he did it with such ease. There was a lot of struggle in his life, but there was an ease to him that I so admire.
The overwhelming theme of all these memories was that Pop Pop would help just about anyone, at just about anytime. Like I said, he was an eminently useful dude. He could fix refrigerators, and cars, and could carve dollhouses and toys, and could hold babies, and could paint and dig ditches and rake leaves at the age of...well, at the age of pretty damn old. And he danced. He danced with my mom and my aunt Linda on his 103rd birthday, just a week before he died. He danced and he whistled and he smiled. He is a person worth remembering.
So we sat around, and we told stories, and we laughed a lot, and we remembered.
As we remember, we re-create reality. We breathe in the past and we breathe out life and truth. As we remember, as we rejoin the past with the present, we remind ourselves not only of what has happened but about who we are and who we want to be.
So this Lent, in memory of Pop Pop, I am not giving up on remembering.