This is not a post about lifting. Or maybe it is, but indirectly. Most of my life is about lifting weights in some measure and the longer I lift, the more inextricable lifting becomes from all the other pieces and the more it’s a metaphor for my life.
John’s grandmother passed away recently and yesterday I listened and watched as John paid tribute to her at the funeral. It’s funny how even when you know a person pretty well, you can still be surprised by them or see them in a different light. While I know that he speaks publicly in court (he’s a lawyer) quite often, I rarely get to see the public John, just the private one. In his eulogy, he shared some memories of his grandmother, telling stories about her that she had recounted or that he had experienced. There was one where her father, himself so excited about Santa Claus and Christmas having arrived, came up to her room when she was a small child and woke her up in the wee hours of the morning to carry her downstairs to experience the magic of a Christmas tree decorated and presents beneath. Other stories were of his grandmother wielding her own bucksaw to clear brush alongside her husband as they built their summer house, how Nan and Grampy did everything together while he was alive, and how she patiently attempted to teach John how to cast a line while trout fishing but was unflaggingly honest with him in critiquing his attempts.
I’m not precisely sure what it was about those stories, oft recounted during Nan’s life, that made me stop and think about them in a way I never have before. Possibly it was how John, a man for whom I have a tremendous and growing respect as the years pass, put them neatly together in his own voice. I saw then that his selection of those memories was careful and deliberate. Those were the pieces of his grandmother’s life that stuck out in his mind, the stories worth keeping and the values worth sharing. The parts of her that are still alive in him.
I also saw how these same stories have shaped his own interactions with his child and me. His joyous awakening every Christmas morning to share that magic with Katherine is part of that same spirit. The fact that he has always respected and supported my pursuit of abilities and endeavours, lifting among them, has never been intimidated or overwhelmed by me, gives me honest opinions when I most need them, and is nothing but proud of having a wife able to stand firmly and strong are gifts that I appreciated when we first met and have formed one of the foundations of our friendship. Yesterday the absolute decency, strength, and solidity of this man were driven home to me in a way I can’t quite pinpoint but that I admire tremendously and for which I am more deeply grateful than I can say.
So I guess this is about lifting, really, except this time John did the picking things up while I got to admire and be proud of how strong he is. I am the luckiest woman in the world to have him for a friend.
Thanks to Nan, Bob, and Sylvia for raising such a decent man.