Monday, December 19, 2011

Why Is the Sky Blue?

My mom and I sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee, and I had just finished relating the strangest of many dreams I had the night before. My granddaughter sat in a chair between us reading a book.

“I wonder why I have such strange dreams,” I said.

“I can tell you, Grandma Linda,” my granddaughter said. She flipped the pages of the Why? book she was reading and proceeded to answer my question. “Scientists think that you dream as your brain tries to make sense of all the things you’ve done and felt during the day.”

“Sounds right to me,” I said. “I do and feel a lot each day and half the time I can’t make sense of it.”

The Why? book has been around my house for years and has passed down from grandchild to grandchild. It answers a lot of the “why” questions that kids ask and adults can’t answer.

The book even answers the question my oldest grandson asked me many years ago. I picked him up from the babysitters and from the backseat he asked, “Grandma Linda, why is the sky blue?” I was stumped for an answer.

That was before I bought the Why? book. It has Bathtime Questions, Supermarket Questions, Nighttime Questions, Kitchen Questions, Farm Animal Questions, and Outdoor Questions, including “Why is the sky blue?”

The book doesn’t have any Health Questions, and doesn’t answer why a person develops Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. I guess you can’t expect a children’s book to answer questions that dedicated researchers cannot answer.

Sure, in some cases, early onset Alzheimer’s can be attributed to a genetic cause. Later onset Alzheimer’s is usually blamed on a risk factor such as age.

I guess the biggest “why” question that plagues me is why did Jim develop dementia at forty-nine? Why was his life cut short by a disease so rare that I had never heard of it until the neurologist read the autopsy report? The answers to these questions stump me more that my grandson’s question about the color of the sky.

Our lives were on track headed in the right direction until dementia derailed the train. We had made it through the hard times and were looking forward to traveling, spending time with family, spoiling our grandkids, and sitting on the front porch drinking coffee.

The house was filled with noise and laughter once again when our family was here for the annual Christmas get-together. I was reminiscing about how rarely this happens now, but we used to have a full house on a regular basis. I never knew when Jim would come home and say he was having a jam session, and oh-by-the-way they’ll all be eating dinner with us. Times were certainly different then.

Life changes. People pass though my life, and I lose touch with beloved family and friends. Years can pass without seeing people I once saw on a daily basis. New friends enter my life to renew hope and soothe my spirit. I am fortunate, indeed, to be a member of a loving and supportive family. 

Through it all, I sometimes wonder why life turns out the way it does, and how certain events fit into the master plan. When I look at my sons and grandchildren, I know that flight to Hawaii exactly forty-two years ago to marry Jim was part of my life's master plan.

The “why” questions of life may have more than one correct answer. The sky may be blue because clear light is made up of all the colors of the rainbow and the blue light waves that bounce back are the ones you see.  Or, the answer might be the one I gave my grandson to the question he asked just as I drove past Hopewell Church. “I’m sure there’s a scientific reason, but I don’t remember what it is. Maybe it is blue because God made it that way.”

Some of the “why” questions of life cannot be found in any book and can only be answered through divine inspiration.

Copyright © December 2011

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