I was awakened by the phone call on September 11. I’d known it was coming. I’d even been expecting it. But that morning, it caught me by surprise.
Grandpa and Grandma had celebrated their fifty-eighth wedding anniversary that Sunday. And early Thursday morning–a little over a month before his seventy-eighth birthday–they reached that moment of “death do us part.”
The tears came in waves that day. Grandpa was so very ready to go home to Heaven. For the first time in a long time, he was no longer in pain. And while that may have lessened the pain of the parting, his long, full life only magnified our sorrow at his absence.
Ten days later, we all gathered for his memorial service. All but one of Grandpa’s eleven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren were there (Jennifer’s a missionary in Africa). And though we cried a lot, we laughed a lot more. Because as many of us stood and gave tribute to, our memories are good ones.
We reminisced about how much he loved ice cream and butterscotch. We talked about his sense of humor. But the theme that ran throughout every story was Grandpa’s kind heart and his love for people. I remember many hours working under Grandpa’s instruction, but whether it was office work in their fiberglass shop, picking up tree limbs, or planting poplars, I don’t ever remember a harsh word. He led quietly and he led by example. As my sister shared, Grandpa was a Micah 6:8 man who loved mercy and walked humbly with his God.
And we were reminded by my brother that some day, we will be joining Grandpa in worshiping the Lord before His throne. Then we’ll be able to say with the Apostle Paul,
“Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?”
-1 Corinthians 15:55
Until that glorious time, we only see through a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). And often, it’s clouded with tears.
But even in the times of sorrow, He gives joy. When we were there for Grandpa’s service, I was able to tell Grandma that her tenth great grandchild is on the way. We’re expecting our fourth child in mid-April.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”