My Grandpa Will died August 22nd, 2010. He was 77 years old. He led a good life here on earth. His current, and permanent, residence is in Heaven where he is happily and energetically praising God night and day. The following are my unedited thoughts upon my grandpa's death.
I don't think I have very many memories of my grandpa. Perhaps if someone told me about something that happened, then I might remember it, but I can’t remember on my own. I do remember, vaguely, going to his seed corn warehouse once, riding with him on his riding lawn mower, and playing baseball with him once or twice when he was in good health. Of course, every Christmas we would get together and I remember how he always had food on his chin while eating the Christmas meal, how he always started opening his presents first before the kids could even have a turn, and how he was always the first to be ready to go home, as if he and grandma were in some kind of a real hurry. I also remember that when you’d shake his hand he would grip your hand very tightly. Is it pathetic that I call that a memory? I’m sorry, but I cannot remember much else. It is not his fault. For the past eleven to twelve years, after his brain aneurism, he’s been without much of his original personality. There was never seemed to be much to talk with him about. If I asked him a question, I may get a one-word answer back. If I asked him a question about selling seed corn or farming, perhaps I’d get a sentence response, but I didn’t know anything about these subjects so there wasn’t a lot I could think to ask him. If I asked him how he was doing, his automatic response was “Good, and you?” I don’t remember if I answered back “good” or if I took the time to tell him what was going on in my life. I hope I would have done the latter.
Apparently before his brain-bleed he was more interested. He’d watch the news, go to the college football and basketball games, and go to my cousins’ baseball, soccer, and basketball games, but after, it seemed he lost interest in all that. Perhaps that’s why he never came to one of my high school or college tennis matches. Perhaps he also didn’t come because he didn’t understand tennis and therefore it wasn’t exciting for him. I did live over and hour away from him, and he was never the type to leave his small town to go to the “city,” perhaps that is why.
For my grandpa’s memorial service my mom asked me to read something she had written. It was kind of like a poem of memories with every line ending in “you were there.” I found it ironic that I was reading something that proclaimed how my grandpa was “always there” yet I remembered so little of him. When was he there? Several people told me at the visitation or after the memorial service how he had been there for them and for my family. I’m glad he had been there, and it made me feel good about my grandpa to hear it. People flew in from all over the place to come for the funeral; my grandpa must have meant a great deal to them. Still, despite my mom’s memories, despite people’s praise, despite the large number of people that came to honor my grandpa and hug my grandma, I could not reconcile how he could have “been there” for me, his granddaughter. But then, a half hour before the memorial service, as I was nervously rehearsing what my mom had written, I began to realize how he had really been there for me all along and, in a way, continues to be there for me. The second to last line of my mom’s poem reads something like “When we needed a father to pray for us and our families, you were there, on your knees each and every night.” Apparently, a few months before his death, my mom had asked my grandpa if he had been praying for his family when she had seen him kneeling at his bedside every night as she grew up. His brief answer was a swift, “You bet.” There is no doubt in my mind that my grandpa and his prayers are in part to thank for my wonderful family. I am enormously blessed to have the family that I have. My grandpa’s faithful prayers have helped to shape our lives thus far, and his prayers will continue to go with us now and in the future. In this sense, he really will be “always there.” Thank you grandpa for always being there for me even when I didn’t realize it. Thank you that even though we didn’t always have a lot to talk about, your love was always with me.
I love you,
Thank you for my family! Thank you for my grandma and grandpa, for my aunt and uncle and cousins, for my mom and dad and brother, for my husband Scott, and for Scott’s family. You have blessed me greatly!!!! Thank you. Please be with us all, let us come into your presence and rest, may we not be too prideful and refuse to give you our burdens to carry, may we know and experience your infinite love and your peace. Let us have teachable hearts so that we can learn from your wisdom and follow your ways. Let us serve one another humbly, love each other selflessly, support and encourage one another, and forgive each other readily. Let us live in peace as far as it depends on us. Thank you. I pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.