Loads and Legacies

maybe my pile wasn't this big, but it felt like it

I had two things delivered to me on Wednesday: Dirt and Bad news.  Can I have more dirt, please?

I had 6 cubic yards of compost delivered to my house waiting for little ole me and my little ole wheelbarrow to distribute it in various places around my neglected half acre. It was a formidable mountain.  I wanted it done in one night.  I wasn’t sure how.

After hauling all day (even with help!), there was still 2/3 of it staring at me and my arms ached.  I was ready to call it a night. Then I got a phone call.

Jim Watts aka Grandpa

My Grandpa, one of those stone statues in my foundation who supports my character and keeps guard of my memories, had been hit with a stroke.  The concept of how an invincible man like my Grandpa—a soldier, a handyman, a father—could end up on his own floor immobile and semiconscious was as foreign to me as Kryptonite.  Certainly, it would take something stronger than that to knock my Grandpa down!

My head was spinning and my heart broke.  Despair and panic mingled with reason and memories flooded over me along with childish hopes and illogical optimism.

Shea and the kids were already tucked in for the night, even though there was still an hour of daylight left.  I was dumbstruck and muddled and overwhelmed with the worst of all feelings…helplessness.  Grandpa was in San Diego and I was here.  I needed to do something.

So I took on the dirt.

Who else would cross the border for a Smurf Pinata? I am the tall kid on the left with the mushroom haircut.

I pulled on my boots and confronted the mountain.  Shovel after shovel and wheelbarrow load after another, I saw images of my Grandpa flash through my mind.  Dump a load…his white hair and twinkly eyes…take the cart back…his bright colored socks…start digging more…trips to Tiajuana where he bought bread that looked like donuts but tasted like bread…digging…him teaching me how to set up a budget…digging…What would he think if he knew I paid actual money for dirt?…digging….He always threatened to lock the door on us when we told him we were coming for a visit…toss another shovel…I was just talking about his next visit out here, what now?…digging…He was going to show me how to fix the sprinklers…take another load across the yard…What about his 90thbirthday party we have planned for June?…step around the chicken poop…I had just called him because I had a chicken with an egg half in and half out. Who else would I call for such predicaments?…Dump the dirt.

The process continued until I couldn’t see anymore.  I realized the sun had melted behind the horizon and the dirt pile was now less than half of what it was.  Once again, Grandpa had helped me tackle a big job.  Still helping me, as I know he will everyday I draw breath.  His advice, his stories, our experiences….will always be there for me even when I can’t call him on the phone or when he can’t pick up the line.

By the way, I have 2 more tons of dirt being delivered tomorrow.

Grandpa, always handsome.

Now it’s after midnight.  Things are not okay, I am still wondering. Still scared, still sad. But I also know I am strong because I come from him. Strong convictions, strong shoulders, strong resolve to put my boots on and keep working.

Grandpa would say “stay sober now” or maybe “what’s a blog?”

I love you Grandpa.  Don’t leave.  But if you need to, make sure to unlock the gate.

Thurday evening: Well done, Grandpa.  I know you are busy dancing with your sweetheart now, but spare a glance now and then and know how much you are missed!  Thanks for everything…xoxo

10 comments on “Loads and Legacies

  1. Sandy on said:

    Oh Kristin!

    Tears are streaming down my face and I have a lump in my throat. Praying for your wonderful Grandpa and family!!

    • Kristin on said:

      Thanks Sandy, you are always there for me! Things aren’t looking good this morning, but you never know what people can come back from!

  2. Erika on said:

    Thank you. We love you. Grandparents are such a gift.

  3. Kristin on said:

    Perhaps this is too personal for a blog, but we all deal with this part of life. There is beauty and pain in it. Grandpa passed and I am elated for him. What a life he had, and I can only imagine his reunion with my sweet Grandma. The tears now are for me and how much I will miss him. All my love to you who are missing someone!

    • Erika on said:

      Kristin – Not at all. I am so glad you shared this with us. I will tread with more tenderness toward my fellowman this week, as I think of your grief.

  4. Charity on said:

    Kristin, your post is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your grandpa with us.

  5. Kristin, thanks for sharing your post was beautiful. I am sad with you. Love, Lisa

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