How does your heart hold onto the people you love?
My Grumps left this place called earth, and entered a place called heaven. I searched and searched for a picture of the two of us together, but I could only find one from when I was first born. But, as I searched through pictures, I noticed something important about my grandfather -- his blue and white striped shirts. I realized it’s probably impossible for me to find a picture of my Grumps in anything other than his blue and white shirts.
If I'm honest, thinking about my Grumps and his blue and white shirts makes sadness drip down my cheeks😢.
I’ve spent time thinking about Grumps bringing his shirts to heaven. My heart knows he would want a few of them up there. Maybe it seems kind of silly to think about people bringing shirts to heaven, but when I think of Grumps, I think about how he was defined by those shirts.
The shirt was a preppy style, but my Grumps wasn’t impressed by anything preppy. He liked his blue and white shirts for their suitability for any kind of work he did, and mostly, I think he preferred their softness, and how lovely they smelled fresh out of the dryer. Also, his shirts were very practical and never wrinkled 😉.
I was 5 when I noticed every time I saw my Grumps he was wearing the same kind of shirt. My mum joked it was his uniform, and I thought this meant every grandfather had a standard blue and white shirt they wore when they saw grand kids. It never made my Grumps ordinary in any way to see him in his uniform, instead it reminded me how dependable he was for all of us, and most especially for Gram.
Five years ago we celebrated Gram and Grumps’ golden anniversary. On that day, Grumps fancied up his blue and white shirt by adding a sharp navy blue blazer. I love how happy Gram and Grumps look together in the picture I found, and how they clutched the 5 and 0 my mum made them with pictures representing their 50 years together. If I look super closely, I can see that little twinkle Grumps would get from time to time when he would listen to me talk on and on about something. I like to talk, and Grumps would always pause and listen even when my stories might have been endless 😬. I can see the twinkle in that picture. I know that twinkle is for my Gram.
Gram and Grumps were together 55 years before he went to heaven. I know it’s hard for Gram to imagine her life without Grumps because me too. When I think of Gram, I think of Grumps. And, when I think of Grumps, I think about his blue and white shirts.
Maybe remembering Grumps and his shirts is my heart’s way of saying he’s OK now. You see, my Grumps didn’t run to heaven. He made small, slow, steady steps. He had to remember his shirts. And, he had to make sure Gram was ready and daddy was ready and we were ready. Because that’s the kind of guy Grumps was -- steady and sure, thoughtful and kind. Grumps was like his blue and white shirts -- always, always, always dependable and practical.
So, I’m super hoping Grumps left a few of his shirts behind for us because I just really want one for Christmas. I want one for me and daddy. I want to just wrap up my sad feelings by seeing my daddy in that blue and white shirt. I really can’t think of a better or bigger heartbeep from my Grumps💗.
I hope if you’re reading this and you're missing someone because they’re in heaven, you’ll search for a picture of them, and you’ll feel a heartbeep. Consider that heartbeep a gift from me and my Grumps, Karl Van Ledtje💗.
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Do you ever think about the courage it takes to let go?
These last several months, I’ve had a lot of really incredible adventures. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen some of them. I feel super grateful for the opportunities, sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it all. After I give myself a pinch, I also want to immediately hug the people who have made these adventures even more special 🤗.
So, this week, as I was watching the eulogies for former President George H.W. Bush, I was thinking about the power of the people in my life, and how these people have shown me the power of being truly present. It’s true, if you follow me, you see some of my most important people because you’ve also seen special times and people who make the event, opportunity, or occasion even more memorable. You see pictures, videos, or even crazy Boomerangs, and maybe you even begin to associate certain people with me, and look forward to seeing more posts from us 🤩. I know that’s true for me. I watch people’s posts, and I feel excited when incredible people join forces and share it with the world! I think in the end, people remember important events for sure, but the greatest memories come from the people who made YOUR event or even, more specifically, your life, important to them, too.
Social media can be a powerful way to celebrate your events AND your relationships.
I wasn’t alive when President Bush led our nation, in fact, I wasn’t even alive when his son, George was President. I’ve only ever known two Presidents in my lifetime, Obama and our current leader. Still, it seems like the measure of President Bush’s life wasn’t just in his time as President, but instead, in his time as a husband, daddy, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. It’s like all of those roles were the most important parts of who he was as a human being. I just love that 💗. One granddaughter shared how she never even thought about her grandfather as President because to her, he was simply “Gampy,” -- someone who’d always put everything aside to make her feel important.
Although all of the eulogies for Bush were beautiful, it was the eulogy by James Baker, one of Bush’s closest friends for 60 years that stuck with me the most. I heard earlier, how Baker was there in President Bush’s final moments, and how he rubbed the President’s feet as a small gesture of love and comfort. I imagined this must have helped his friend feel heartbeeps in his final moments of life. It was one last act of humble service Baker could give his friend. I get heartbeeps just thinking how such a small act can be so giant in the heart of someone going to heaven💗.
My heart really beeps deeply for Baker. His lifelong friend isn’t here anymore, and I just know he will miss him so much. But, then I think about how beautiful it is to miss someone because of the love and memories they gave you. It’s like your life is richer from them, and so your memories are richer too. Baker described Bush as a “truly beautiful human being” -- someone who wasn’t known as a skilled speaker, but whose deeds were quite eloquent. I just love how this illustrates something I’ve heard my parents say to me again and again: actions speak louder than words.
Right now, my Grumps is in hospice. I’ve learned dying isn’t always easy. Sometimes it takes time. Lots of time. Sometimes people don’t understand the time it takes. It’s like when you say hospice people think the person will die immediately. But, everyone’s journey is their own, even when it’s time to die, and I think my Grumps might have some more thinking to do. His body has Parkinson’s, but his heart and his brain are free. He wants time to think and love and just be.
I’m sharing about this journey with my Grumps because I can’t capture how much my brain and heart feel in a simple post or tweet. But, it’s also a reminder for those who might think a person’s whole life is captured on social media. It’s not. There are so many parts of life that can’t be measured in a simple post or tweet. Sometimes some parts deserve more words; some that are public words, and some that just stay private.
Tonight, I’m thinking about how the Bush family measured George H.W.’s life in the stories they shared about him. I’m thinking of my Gram holding my Grumps’s hand. I’m thinking about the person who read my sad texts today and tried to cheer me up.
Some of you only know me as LivBit, but when you read this, you’ll know a little more about Liv. The kid who farts a lot. Sorry. It’s true 🤪. The kid who is always ready for another Pop Tart. Sorry. That’s true too. The kid who says I love you a lot. I’m not apologizing for that one. The kid who discovered this week who George H.W. Bush is, and whose heart feels changed forever from learning about his love. Not sorry. The kid who wishes very deeply her Grumps wasn’t hurting from Parkinson’s. No apology. The kid who lately has been wondering a lot about heaven. Only a little sorry if you’re the person who receives my texts on this one 😬. The kid who wishes to give the world more heartbeeps than heartaches. No need for a sorry here either.
I hope you read this blog and think a few things. First, I hope you think about the power of small acts, and how they can help someone through something hard. Give the hug. Say words that matter. Be present with a big smile. Be brave enough to show your feelings even if it means someone might hurt you. Remember your actions speak bigger than anything else. I hope you’re patient even when it’s hard, and you love with courage.
That’s what I’ve learned in the last few months. From all my adventures, the ones you see on social media, and the ones you don’t, I’ve learned it takes courage to love. And, it takes even more courage to let go💗.
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Hi, I'm Liv and I am super excited to share my thinking with you!