Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering Grandpa

"I miss that old guy."
-Grandpa's best friend

Sometimes grief robs me of words. I'm full of sorrow, and yet the ability to articulate that sorrow completely escapes me. It's not a constant sort of despair that I feel, but an intense sadness that will hit me at certain moments causing the tears to flow.

In his last days, Grandpa's only reservation about leaving Earth was his concern for the well-being of the family. "I just want to make sure that you will be okay," he kept repeating with labored breaths from his nursing home bed, as the oxygen machine nearby chugged along. "We're going to be okay, Grandpa," I would reply, even though tears were falling on my face. I held his hand. "Don't worry. We'll be okay."

I know that we all are going to be okay, but in the meantime, it's been tough. My major frustration is not being able to talk to Grandpa anymore. Talking with him was the best. "God, I just want to talk to Grandpa!" is a frequent prayer of late, even though I know praying these words will not magically bring Grandpa back in his bodily form like some sort fairy godmother. And yet, while he was alive, Grandpa was like a fairy godmother to me, always willing to listen and to love. Gosh, I miss him!

Mourning is an ache and a longing for that which I can't have. I just wish that I could simply hear his voice saying, "How's things?" as he was wont to do. I wish that I could correspond with him in letters, even... tie up an envelope to a string hanging from the sky that will be lifted into the heavenly realms for Grandpa to open up and then reply to in his methodical, slightly rightward leaning script. I wish that in my dreams I could go to a cafe that's halfway between heaven and earth, so I can have coffee with Grandpa. Oh, what I would give for just 10 minutes of conversation with him!

God has promised provision for those who grieve: to "bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isaiah 61:3). I eagerly await the fulfillment of these promises in my life as I experience all of the discomfort, ups and downs that come with loss. I know that it's a matter of "fix[ing] [my] eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). In enduring this temporary pain of grief, I look forward to the day when I will be joyfully reunited with my dear Grandpa in heaven, when I can tell him everything and he won't ever go away.

"I want nothing but the best for you," he managed to say on that Friday night at Kline Galland. He needn't have verbalized it because he spoke this over all of us granddaughters with every act of love, service and sacrifice he did while he was with us on earth. I know that Grandpa would have laid down his very life for us (1 John 3:16b) if need be. And in many ways, he did.

Shirt reads: "Lifetime Achievement in Grandfathering"

I miss you, old guy. Can't wait to see you again someday.

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