Monday, September 29, 2008

Paradise to Paradise

Grampa Barstow was one of the most generous and sincere people I have ever met. I know very little about his life when he was younger but I do know that he was kind and considerate with a fantastic sense of humor. The home he and Grama built for themselves, in Paradise, California, is a testament to their love and dedication to their dream. There isn't a single bush or vine that wasn't put there by the two of them together.

The first time I ever met the Barstows was Easter of 2004 and Kris let it slip that I hated HAM, which, of course, is what we were having for dinner. For the rest of the day Grampa kept ribbing me about it and I was mortified. If there was ever a deal breaker this was it and I would forever be labeled "The Girl Kris Dated Who HATED HAM". But, instead, Kris and Grampa made a quick run to the store to get me something else to eat which was totally unecessary, I would have gladly eaten the ham and kept my opinions to myself because that falls under the heading: When Meeting Potential IN-LAWS You Do, Say, Or Eat Anything That Keeps You In Their Good Graces.

" Grama & Grampa Barstow"

Grampa may have had a body that was old, scarred, and tired but his spirit was a vital, healthy young man that liked sweets. A LOT. But after three severe strokes in just a few short months, his body could no longer support him and his health deteriorated fast. Grama's care for him at home contributed entirely to Grampa's ability to hang on for so much longer than any of the doctors expected.

We were fortunate to get a chance to visit Grampa less than three weeks before he passed away and while it was one of the most difficult and painful visits of my life I am so glad that we were able to see him and say our goodbyes. I know that whatever grief we have felt over Grampa's passing, it can only be that much more unbearable for Grama. I can't even begin to imagine the heartache that comes with losing a spouse after so many years. It doesn't seem fair or right that one person should have to exist without the other.

I have long since abandoned the idea of knowing what happens to a person's soul when they die, but whenever I think of Grampa I can't imagine his spirit anywhere other than Paradise.

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