I Last week my grandpa passed away. It's been heartbreaking!
Here is what I read at his service:
I’ve been thinking a lot over the past week about what I would like to say to honor my grandpa today. I’ve had many conversations with God while driving and my thoughts sound so much more eloquent than I’m sure they will come out today, but I know my grandpa wouldn’t mind if I stumble over my words, and you’ll just have to bare with me.
As you all know, my grandpa had an influence on many different people throughout his life – that’s why you’re all here. As you’ve already heard, and I’m sure you’d agree, he was loving, funny, courageous, faithful and kindhearted. He loved Jesus and lived his life honoring the Lord and loving people. He wasn’t afraid to speak the Truth of the gospel and live it out, no matter what the cost, even when it meant he had to stand up against the South Africangovernment because they were treating the African people so badly. My grandpa was an amazing preacher, I can still remember him standing at the pulpit teaching his congregation about God. He was my first pastor and the one who has had the greatest influence on my life and my own faith. I’ll never forget standing before him during VBS when he would dress up as “Mr. Pockets”. He had a big white coat covered in different colored pockets. In each one were treats we could choose from when we memorized the daily bible verse. I can still picture him smiling down at me as “Mr. Pockets”, so proud of me for memorizing scripture. And let’s be honest it was right up his ally because my grandpa loved sweets!
I have countless memories of my grandpa: one of my favorites wasfinding his stash of kit kat bars behind his desk when my sister Ashley and I were playing in his study. Of course the family all knows about it now, but at the time he didn’t want us to tell Grandma because he knew she’d keep them in the kitchen. Ashley and I loved spending time at my grandparents house, whenever we were around he would get extra goodies because grandma always liked to spoil us with cookies and sweets. He especially loved teasing my sister and I when we were little, he knew just how push our buttons, which at the time could get old, but I think Ashley would agree that we’d give anything to be teased by him just one more time.
As a little girl I’d always get so embarrassed because wheneveranyone went in to use the restroom he’d say “if you have any trouble, call a policeman”. The funny thing is that I ended up marrying a policeman and my grandpa got a huge kick out of that. He especially loved Josh’s haircut and often said he’d like to get his own haircut just like Josh. He was quite a character and as I’m sure you all know he was quite the storyteller as well. He loved history and had a great memory of his childhood and earlier years in life. My husband and brother would always sit next to him at family dinners and my grandpa would talk their ears off the entire time. He loved a captive audience, and always had the perfect story to relate to where we were at in our lives. My sister Ashley especially loved his college dorm stories.
More than anything though I am so thankful for the relationship my son Harrison and my grandpa shared. In the past few weeks Harry started calling great grandpa, “grand papa” and I will never stop telling him about what a wonderful grand papa he had. It is hard to accept that Harry won’t have any memories of his grand papa, but we have plenty of photos, videos and stories to share with him in the years to come.
Harry was born the day before my grandpa’s 80th birthday. He made quite an entrance into the world with an emergency c-section. It was long and stressful day for my family as they were waiting, and despite the fact that they were tired and hungry, my grandpa was adamant that they all stayed until Harry arrived. I obviously wasn’t in the waiting room, but I found out later that at a moment in my labor when we needed prayer the most, my grandpa stood up out of the blue and told everyone that they needed to pray. Knowing that he led my family in a prayer at just the right moment is something I will never forget.
And from that moment on Harry and my grandpa had a special bond. My grandpa suffered a stroke when Harry was about 7 months old, from then on his dementia made it so that he didn’t remember any of us aside from a rare glimmer of the old grandpa we knew and loved. But anytime my grandpa laid eyes on my son, his entire face lit up in the most amazing smile. Harrison didn’t know it, but he brought my grandpa so much joy in his final year and a half of life. I know that my grandpa is in heaven now smiling down on us and enjoying my little boy even more so now that his mind and body are healed completely.
We obviously miss him terribly, and that will probably never change, but I am so thankful for every moment that we were all blessed to have my grandpa in our lives. And now we can rest assured that he is worshipping Jesus face-to-face. I can’t wait to be there too, hopefully many years from now.
Sometime during the last week of my grandpa’s life, when Ashley kissed him goodnight, he told her, as clear as day, “ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT I LOVE YOU.” I think he would want us all to remember that today, and always.
And don’t worry grandpa, if we have any trouble we’ve got a policeman in the family! :)