A Life Well-Lived, Part 2


This morning I got to see the heart beat – a tiny flutter in there. The Great Knitter is inside me stitching, beautifully and wonderfully. It looks like we’re due to have a baby on my birthday, August 10th. What a gift. I’ll be 32 years old.

A week ago today, I was sitting up in my husband’s grandad’s bedroom. I hawked over him like a mother over child. His breaths were few. I woke my mother-in-law, and I watched her put her head on her own Daddy’s chest for the last of countless times. She heard the final thump as his soul galloped like a stallion away.

We were left in the wake, crying, relieved, overwhelmed with sadness, bone aware of glory, how close we all are at every second to the intangible side of life.

Later a phone call came in and Uncle Jimbo said, “Yes, it was a life well-lived,” but I am only the grandaughter-in-law. I’ve only been around for 12 years, and though the stories of George Mouk are so BIG and heroic and Charming, I have spent a third of my life just knowing him as Grandad. And I never once felt like an in-law. I was his. All the way.

He was strong in everything. He put me in a boat on the moss-hung bayou, and he rowed me through tight cyprus knees. A gar skimmed the water right in front of me, and I yelped so loud. He knew I thought a gator was coming in that boat to eat me alive, and he laughed so hard I thought we would topple over. We got out of the boat, and he hugged the breath right out of me. He always hugged that way, strong on love.

The first time Ispent the night at his house, I had been told that I was to wake early to have coffee, and I didn’t know the procedure. I woke, saw his bedroom light on, and I took my coffee there. He was reading a paper, put it down, and told me to sit in the chair right next to him. 

I sat, and he said, “Amber, I want for you to tell me All your Dreams,” and to that I don’t know what I said. I only fell in love, took deep note that that was our first one-on-one conversation.

Life is a fire, and he was well aware that it burned in everybody, and he never missed an opportunity to fuel it if he knew how.

Already, this child inside has a flickering, and I can’t wait to be a fan, like Grandaddy. I can’t wait to show this child everything I know about the heart and about Dreams, everything I’ve come to learn about passion, Black Bayou, hot pepper heat, and deeply loving your mother-in-law, how in a life well-lived is mostly what’s been inherited, none of it able to catch fire.

amberhaines
About me

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19 Comments

Stacy
Reply December 14, 2010

Had a break between patients-what a refreshing break it turned out to be. Thank you.

Jessica
Reply December 14, 2010

Oh, Amber. Tears are pouring down my face. My two year old is asking if I'm ok. What precious memories you have. What a wonderful birthday present you have coming. Our 4th was born on my husband's birthday this year. The first birthday he would have had to celebrate w/o his grandmother. He was born on her birthday. She passed away last October. I love your perspective and how you remind us of the important things in life.
Jessica

Danielle
Reply December 14, 2010

Congratulations on your new little one!

Joy
Reply December 14, 2010

Oh, I have been offline, missed these last few posts---what joy, sweet friend! How happy I am for you in this news!

And oh, how my heart expanded and cracked as I read of Grandad...how you always manage to call me back to Love, and the Love-giver.

Lindsey
Reply December 14, 2010

Amber,
This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I've been reading your blog for sometime now, but I'm not sure if I've ever commented before. I'm sure that he would feel honored and loved to hear these things.
Congratulations on your new little one. :)

Lindsey

Rebecca Mouk
Reply December 14, 2010

Amber-
Amazing - and perfect! I can't elaborate more. August is great!
Love to you and your bunch, Rebecca

Linda
Reply December 14, 2010

Just to say this is absolutely beautiful.

laura@life overseas
Reply December 14, 2010

Amber,

What a beautiful tribute. I love the memory of him asking you "all your dreams." What a great question to really ask people, even to ask children. What a beautiful picture of him being one of your biggest fans, and you being a fan, already, of the new life within.

The cycle of life continues, doesn't it? One leaves the earth, while another is getting ready to walk it.

Congratulations to you guys . . . .

Love from here,
Laura

Kelly Sauer
Reply December 14, 2010

Amber, you found your voice again...

And,

Oh wow. I want to be him when I grow up.

Tears, and smiles.

joann
Reply December 14, 2010

lovely. this makes me want to be southern. And it makes me want to be more of a fire and less of a wet mop.

Sus
Reply December 15, 2010

This is wonderful.

Heather
Reply December 15, 2010

Hi Amber,

I just found you and your beautiful blog on twitter. I really love this post, so true and honest and sweet. Have a blessed Christmas season.
Heather

Megan@SortaCrunchy
Reply December 15, 2010

Yes, what Kelly said. I want to be HIM. I want to shed the weight of social burden that stops me from hugging people like that. I want to sit down with someone and listen to All their Dreams. I want to laugh hard enough to nearly tip a boat.

What an inspiration.

And HURRAY for seeing the heartbeat! Those August babies are so charming and irresistible I had to go and marry myself one.

Sharon O
Reply December 15, 2010

Your baby will be a blessing to you God has poured out a gift so far beyond what you can imagine. It will be wonderful. Take care and rest when you can.

Melissa@one thing
Reply December 15, 2010

THIS
"Life is a fire, and he was well aware that it burned in everybody, and he never missed an opportunity to fuel it if he knew how".
I ACHE for this to be said of me by someone I love someday...
What a beautiful post and congratulations on the baby!
m

Minnesotamom
Reply December 15, 2010

Sorry for your loss and joyous at your news simultaneously. Blessings and hugs!

Elizabeth @claritychaos
Reply December 16, 2010

Oh, this brought me to tears. To a life well lived. To a life of living well. And many many congrats on the new little life you are growing! I'm so happy for you.

Aimee
Reply December 17, 2010

Breathtaking. Just beautiful.

Don't be surprised if this little one is the most like Granddaddy of all the littles. Where I'm from, there's a an old wives' tale that says something along the lines of how a baby will be most like the last person in the family who has passed away. I have to say, in my own family, this is true. My daughter is most like my grandfather of any of the little ones in our family. She looks more like the great-grandfather she never met here on Earth. She has his mannerisms and it's a wonderful blessing to be reminded of him in even the smallest of ways.

I pray your family is likewise blessed and that this newest baby is so much like him.

Mishi
Reply December 27, 2010

I love you. Very much.

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