**this was written in spurts over the last month
my grandfather and I at Longwood a few years ago
Over the holidays, on Christmas Eve in fact, my grandfather passed away from a sudden stroke. He was eighty-two years old.
At times I’ve felt that my emotions were so raw, so visceral in fact, that they couldn’t possibly have been articulated by pen. Now that time has passed and days have turned into weeks, it is apparent what an immeasurable blessing my grandfather was to not only myself, but to my family in turn.
My grandfather was a man of yesteryear. A hard-worker, self-starter, God-fearing, country-loving gentleman. He understood the worth of a day’s work and used his hands to build the very home that we live in today. The company he worked to make his own alongside his brother remains in my father’s hands and namesake. He was not a terribly affectionate man or one that spoke in flowery terms. Rather, he said what he meant and he meant what he said.
His absence in our home has been flagrant, at times more so than I ever imagined possible. I’m amazed at the power and presence one person can bring to a family tree such as mine. I saw him every day; shared meals with him, traded barbs, and did for him what I felt was needed at any present time. He was astonishingly independent for a man of his health history, and required very little care if you will. It still warmed my heart to do his laundry for him and my husband cleaned his room and cut his hair and beard for him regularly. These are things that I miss, in my servant-minded heart.
As a child, my grandfather often took out his guitar and with my sister and aunt we would dance around his living room as carefree birds in the wind. I have no doubt that we looked ridiculously uncoordinated, but the smile on his face at our joy was what I remember. His low voice would carry over the strings and he would sing the old classics he so cherished. It is not lost on me that the day that he had his stroke, he enjoyed this very scene one last time, only this time it was with Cutter, Scout, and Charlie; his great-grandchildren. The smile on his face was broader that day and I see now that God knew it was this departing memory to leave with my sister and I.
He provided for me in ways I will never be able to repay, and I am thankful for his generosity and his grace in doing so.
The reassurance of my grandfather’s glorious homecoming has been the hope that I cling to throughout the time of grief. He passed away on Christmas Eve and in doing so, celebrated the birth of our savior Jesus Christ in heaven with him. Can you imagine the angel’s songs? The amazing worship and adoration that he got to experience! I am blessed to know that one day I will join in praise with him and our voices will mix together to create one unified song of blessing, something that I could never quite master in this earthy realm. Indeed, I have found rejoicing in his death the healing balm over my grief.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7