A week ago yesterday March 24, 2011 , the only Grandpa I ever knew went to be with his Savior. He was 91.
The day before I got the call that said, if you want to say good-bye, do it now. It wasn’t long after that call that I went to see he and my grandma in the nursing home where they lived. I know he knew I was there, because he looked up at me. I’m sure he didn’t know who I was, because of his Alzheimer’s, but that doesn’t matter. I told him that I loved him and knew somewhere inside me that it would be the last time he would hear it. A little more then 12 hours later he breathed his last holding my grandma’s hand.
You didn’t spend more than a few minutes with Grandpa without hearing a story. He was in South America during World War 2. As a child, I remember him telling me about lizards whose tales would fall off if you grabbed hold of them. I loved to hear Grandpa’s stories. I loved to hear about when he was boy and had to go to the well with his sister to get water. I would sit on my dad’s lap and listen as he told about the airplanes he worked on.
As an adult I gleaned the wisdom he had, mostly from watching. He always had a come back to make you smile. He respected and loved my grandma with all of his being, almost as much as he loved his Savior. Every morning they would read the Bible together. A decade ago they would walk together holding hands, only partially to keep them steady. He took everything in stride, knowing God would make things turn out right. He never spoke badly about anyone specifically.
Grandpa used to tell the story about how he was just about to get out of the service and as he was praying he told God that he was lonely and wanted a wife. He said that he wanted her to be a Christian, a good cook (and such as that), and not afraid to work. He met Grandma in January at a church not far from where I live now. They were engaged in February of that year and were married March 19, 1946. The pastor that married them told them that it was too quick and wouldn’t accept payment saying it would never last. He attended their 25th anniversary party and his wife (who was also there) attended their 50th. In total they were married 65 years.
Three weeks ago when he knew he was dying, he looked up and saw angels. He couldn’t wait to see Heaven and be with Jesus. He joked and laughed even then. I left his room that day and turned to my dad and said, “I want to be like that when it’s my turn!”
Another thing I loved about Grandpa was his love of kids. Of all ages, but especially the little ones. He couldn’t pass any child without waving. And if they waved back, it made his day. He loved to go shopping with Grandma I think, just so he could wave at all the little kids and see if he could get them to smile at him and wave. I think most of the time, they did.
The legacy my grandpa left was one of faith, laughter, honesty and hard work.
May God bless your socks off!