I was made to be wide-eyed all the days of my life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I'm still in the process of processing things.

Big things in life, large events like birth, death, and marriage take that processing time.

A few weeks ago, my Grandpa Brink passed away after a long battle with cancer.
I loved my Grandpa.
I loved my Grandpa so much.

The lessons that he taught me, the time that he spent investing into my life, and the ways that he provided for me and my family will always be knit into the fabric of my heart.  More than a Grandpa, he was a friend to me. Helping me pick out and fix up my first car, taking me on motorcycle rides, bike rides, and sailing on  Lake Harriet.

My Grandpa loved, loved, loved, Music and the Arts.  Some of my favorite memories with him were listening to a Rossini opera or some Stan Getz  jazz in the living room, music notes floating around the room from the suspended stereo system.

My Grandpa would often ask for music requests, loving to play what we loved to hear. More often than not, I would request a special favorite of mine, Jacqueline DuPre preforming Kol Nidre op.47 for Cello. Not necessarily because it was my favorite, but because I knew it was one of his. I loved to watch him listen.

Usually, before playing the piece, he would offer some interesting tidbit about the music, the background of Jacqueline DuPre or how Jewish music always had a note of sadness in it, no matter how happy the tune.

Not this time though. This time he just pulled the well preserved, aged vinyl record from its case and placed it on the turn table. Needle down, music a go.

As the scratching sound of the record started, I watched my Grandpa. As music began to pulse through the needle, down through the sound equipment and out through the speakers, I closed my eyes and floated above the ground, feeling every mourn and sob of the cello, every high and low along with Jacqueline. And while I was sitting there, in the living room, raptured by the beauty of the music, I heard a sob. 

A quiet but terrible sob.

And I opened my eyes and looked up to see my Grandpa standing over the record player, weeping.

"I'm sorry," he said, "its just so beautiful."

St Irenaeus said that "The glory of God is man fully alive and a life consists in beholding God." And in that moment, for a glimer of a second, I was a witness to the glory of God, in a man fully alive. 

My Grandpa was fully alive and inspired me to be the same. 

I miss my Grandpa, and loved him so much. 
And I still love him. I'm a strong believer that love goes beyond the grave. You can't stop loving someone just because they died. Scriptures say tha love is stronger than death, God's jealous love stronger than the grave.

And his legacy and his story do just that. My Grandpa wrapped his smaller story, the story of his life around the Larger, Greater Story of Love thats stronger than the grave, victorious over sickness and cancer and death. Or, more appropriately, My Grandpa got himself wrapped up in eternity. And when someone like that passes away, finally gets what they have been waiting for... when someone fully alive crosses the Great Seperation, it sends ripples. The sky spins different, and all of the earth rejoices and groans for the one who has gone home.

And God becomes nearer, to the broken and lonely and confused.
And Jesus becomes the healer. Taking all sickness and cancer and death upon his own body.
And peace, less like a river, more like a sea, comes in and out like a tide. Cleansing an open wound, with the same saltiness of tears.

And Grace, always Grace, becomes a staple, a daily bread. Like a friend to sit with us in sackcloth and ashes reminding us that  
God is near to the broken hearted and he comforts those who mourn

Grief from Laura Clawson on Vimeo.



  1. We were speechless, to say the least. You express so well what the rest of us are feeling but can't seem to find the words. Thanks Laura, for being obedient to your calling.

  2. Hello Dear Laura,
    You don't know me but I knew your family over twenty years ago, when I was a young woman probably close to your age. Your Grandpa and Grandma made a difference in my life just by being themselves. They welcomed us to their home with open arms, and provided a real life ( with skin on) picture to those of us who did not have a picture of what a loving couple and happy family looks like. I remember how kind your dad was to me. I remember one time how in a room full of young people, I caught a secret moment between the two as Grandpa Dick caught the eye across the room of your Grandma Jan and the way she looked back at him was so loving and I knew that in their private moments just as in their public moments they loved each other and valued each other. Your Grandpa Dick was special to me, and in my memories. Thank you for sharing this special blog. I am so sorry for your your sadness and all your family's sorrow.
    That evidently is the bittersweet price that must be paid when such a special person parts this world. No one can replace him. The memories of him will go on for a long time, but the legacy he left your family will go on forever and be seen in the generations to come.
    Thank you for this special blog. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    In Jesus,
    Kim Schweim

  3. One more thing,, I just realized I referred to your grandpa as your "dad" above. Sorry about that I may have confused you a little!

    (My goodness you do look so much like your Grandma when she was young don't you???
    Lord Bless you!