Surrender 29: The Love of Grandfathers

I grew up with a grandfather that the whole family called Pop. For most of my life, he was the only grandpa I knew, and I cherish my memories of him. He taught me about gardening, allowing me to work alongside him, garden hoe in hand, learning about vegetables and flowers. 

 George Harnar, Pop, who served his country during WWII 

My other grandfather, my dad’s father, passed away when I was a small child. I have a few dear memories of him: sitting cradled in his lap, watching him talk, fascinated by his chin stubbled with gray whiskers, playing in his large garage while he tinkered on a car, the intriguing aroma of his pipe. His nickname, selected by my oldest cousin, was PooPaw. 

  Dennis & Grace Lauderdale, PooPaw & Granny

I recently acquired a photo of Poopaw, a gift from my cousin William. He and my grandmother are so young, captured on their wedding day. I treasure this picture, as I didn’t have one of my Lauderdale grandfather. 

I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I realized I had another grandfather, my mom’s dad. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident on an icy road long before I was born. My mother was just a little girl. I learned his name was William, and his family called him Billy. My grandmother remarried later, to the man I knew as Pop. 

  Billy Gregory, playing the violin with his brother Lloyd on the mandolin. 

Although I knew neither of my biological grandfathers well growing up, in the last few years I’ve thought about them often. I am intuitive. My abilities frightened me as a child, and as a result, I grew up with a great deal of fear. While still a little girl, I used to wake up in the dark, which was a terrifying experience for me. I’d sometimes feel someone sitting on the edge of my bed, rubbing my back in a loving and gentle way. Comforted, I’d turn my head, expecting to see my mother. There was never anyone there, that I could see anyway. But that presence brought me a measure of peace. 

Only after I faced down my fears a few years ago, and fully accepted and embraced my intuitive self, did I come to understand who that presence was. My grandfather Billy, whom I never met while he lived, has long been my protector, fulfilling in Spirit what he could not do in life. He has often watched over me, a quiet strength in times of need. I now call him Papaw Bill. 

I fully understand that for most people, my perceptions of Life and Spirit are beyond what they’ve personally experienced. That’s okay. It is only because I so completely accept myself and no longer hide who I am, that I can share my own experiences now. There is a quote that I love, by Sandri Alexander, that says, “Behind your greatest fear, lies your greatest gift.” I am finally realizing what that means for me. My intuitive abilities, because of my lack of understanding, created my greatest fear. As that fear crumbled away, my intuition was revealed for what it was…my greatest gift. My essence. The truest part of who I am. As I journey as a whole person, I am discovering what I am to offer to the world. 

Which brings me back to my grandfathers. I had powerful ahas about PooPaw and Papaw. My gifts of intuition come to me from both of them, through the Lauderdale and Gregory lines. Both died young, PooPaw at age 52 and Papaw at age 33. My mother was five years old when her father died and I was five years old when PooPaw died. 

I know that as a child, I would have greatly benefitted from their stories of their own experiences, as intuitives. I believe that’s one of the reasons Papaw Bill has visited me so often. What I realized just this week, is that PooPaw has been a presence in my life as well. My two grandfathers, ever near, loving me from beyond the veil, from the realm of Spirit. And Pop, charged with the task of being my substitute grandpa, loving me and caring for me as well. He too “pops” by occasionally for a Spirit visit. I recognize his presence by the whiff of tobacco that I get. 

I have stood daily in my studio, before the picture of PooPaw and Granny Grace, sending them love and gratitude. And suddenly this week, I wanted Papaw Bill’s photo too. My mom has that great pic of him playing his violin and today, I stood at Walgreens, waiting for the prints I ordered from her photo to be processed. As the time passed, and I could hear the technician struggling with the machine, I surrendered to what was. If I needed to, I’d come back another time. I wanted that picture today, however tomorrow would be fine too. 

More help arrived. Whispered consultations ensued. Perhaps a swift kick to the contrary machine was delivered. I stepped forward to say it was okay…I’d return in the morning. At that moment, the tech approached with a grin, package in hand. “Here you go,” he said, “no charge. Sorry for your long wait.” He refused my offer to pay. 

In the car I opened the package. Five copies of the photo were inside! They gave me extras. I had what I wanted, and I could share with my sisters. 

I smiled. “Thank you Papaw. And PooPaw. And Pop. My grandfathers…thank you for everything.”