La Verne Magazine
From the Editor...
by Alexis Lahr
We think of death as such a terrible occurrence, yet I recently realized that
is not always the case. It became apparent a few weeks ago that my grandfathers
health is starting to decline. I dont know why this discovery stunned
me; after all, he is 79 years old, and it is not as if he will live forever.
Despite the inevitability of death, I somehow never entertained the idea of
him being absent from my life.
My relationship with my grandfather is different from most relationships people
share with their elders. We have written letters back and forth since I was
old enough to write, and we continue to correspond to this day. Unlike many
grandparents, he does not spoil his grandchildren with gifts of candy and money.
He spoils us with stories and lessons, lessons about life, love, spirituality,
education and morelessons that have played a considerable role in the
person I have become.
I am not ready for him to die.
While I was recently home in Colorado, I went to see him for what could have
been the last time. That visit changed my perspective. Outwardly, he was in
good spirits, but his behavior and his tired eyes told me that while I am not
prepared to let him go, he is ready when his time comes.
I now understand that he has lived a long, full life. Among other things,
he has been a husband, father, businessman, minister, counselor and writer.
He served our country in the South Pacific during WWII. He has buried a childand
a wife. He raised his 15 children and two adopted children, most of the time
as a single parent, and still retired at the age of 40. He has had more experiences
in 79 years than other people could have had in 10 lifetimes.
He has shown me that life and death are forever linked, and death is not necessarily
something to fear. I feel fortunate that I know my grandfather for the man he
is. I have been able to share in the wisdom he gained from his life experiences.
I left after my visit, not knowing when I will see my grandfather again. He
could live another 10 years or another 10 days. He always taught me to live
life to its fullest and be prepared, because we never know when our time will
end. Somehow, I never applied this to our relationship until now.
Long ago, I learned how powerful and permanent words are. Although someday
my grandfather will be gone, our conversations will endure forever, in the form
of his letters and in my memory. His wisdom and stories will remain, despite
his absence. Knowing this helps me prepare to let him go.
Although it will be difficult when the time comes, I have realized that death
is not always a tragic ending. In a way, it is a beautiful conclusion to an