I was just watching a tribute show for Brooks and Dunn’s upcoming retirement, and they made mention to one of their songs, Believe. Listening to the lyrics to that song still gives me chills.
It was back in 2006, and I had just returned home from my Grandfather’s funeral. All through the funeral, wake, and other proceedings, I was a rock; I never shed a tear. During the funeral mass, I read from the bible, and no tears were shed, despite the fact that everyone else in the church had tears in their eyes. In fact, even when he was home, suffering and basically waiting to cry for my grandfather, I couldn’t. For awhile, I wondered whether I had any feelings left in my heart I worried about this.
I kept a dry eye when he was lying in his bed, telling us about better days when he was a young man. He explained how he used to like work, any kind of work, especially work he could do with his hands. My grandfather, despite his short stature, was a hard working man, who worked at many different trades in his long lifetime, and he excelled at whatever he attempted. I was amazed that at age 93, after suffering over 7 years with prostate cancer, remembered each stage of his life with incredible accuracy. Grap said that if he could do one thing right now, it would be to take a long walk. Possibly through his old hay fields, or even better, he would like to walk to Nova Scotia, like he did as a young man, when he visited that province in search of work. His memory was sharp as a tack as he told us of the adventures he had as a young man, working on the railroad, hitching rides on freight cars, and traveling to and from work. He told us of the enjoyment he experienced as he watched his family grow up, and how proud he was of each and every one of us….all 11 kids he had, as well as the 66+ grandchildren, and countless great-grandchildren he had.
By the way, my Grandfather suffered those 7 years of Prostate Cancer without telling anyone. He feared that he would worry his family. We did notice changes in him in the last few years, as he made it a habit of drinking a hot Toddie of rum each night before bed; which we found out later was to help him deal with the pain.
In the last few years of his life, he took care of things that needed to be taken care of, such as his burial. He made sure that the family did not have to worry about paying for any of it. Another thing he took care of was the hiring of home care workers to take care of my Grandmother. Finally, he spoke to a lawyer, and had a will drawn up. When this was all done, and he felt that his job here was finished, he died.
I remember coming home early, while everyone was still at the graveyard. I turned on the TV, and a Brooks and Dunn video was playing on CMT. I wasn’t paying attention to the song, just having something on to fill a background in my empty home, when the song Believe came on.
The song made absolutely no reference to my grandfather, But although none of the lyrics spoke about losing a grandfather, they do speak about losing a friend, a mentor, and maybe a hero. I guess when you think about it, the song really is about my grandfather dying. He was much more than just my grandfather, he was a man who was loved and admired by all who met him. If that ain`t worth a song, then I don`t know what is.
“Later on that night, i laid there thinkin’ back
Thought ’bout a couple long-lost summers
I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh
If there was ever anybody desevred a ticket to the other side
It’d be that sweet old man who looked me in the eye, said I raise my hands, bow my head
I’m finding more and more truth in the words written in red
They tell me that there’s more to life than just what i can see…
I can’t quote the book
The chapter or the verse
You can’t tell me it all ends
In a slow ride in a hearse
You know I’m more and more convinced
The longer that i live
Yeah, this can’t be
No, this can’t be
No, this can’t be all there is (Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn)
Maybe, after listening to the song, it will become obvious that another reason why this song was so meaningful was because my grandfather did not fear death; rather, he welcomed it. He knew that he had done everything that was meant for him to do in this life, on this side, and he was ready to take on whatever challenges were planned for him on the other side. I BELIEVE!