Thursday, December 18, 2014
Missing my Grandpa
This morning my heart is heavy.
Early this morning my dear Grandpa passed into the arms of Jesus.
On Sunday, I held his hand and said to him, "have a good rest Grandpa."
I suspected at the time that those might be my last words to him, but I dared to hope not.
I can think of many cliches to comfort myself as I process this.
We deal so delicately with death.
We're always afraid to say the wrong thing.
We always want people to feel better.
But if I may be so bold, I say that we are not meant to feel better, not
yet, and maybe never completely.
When something is of worth - like human life, like people we love, it is supposed to hurt when we lose them. It wounds us, and reminds us of the fragile state of our own mortality.
The irony of loving is that the better and more loveable a person is to us, and the closer we are to them, the more it hurts when they die.
A person is many things to many people.
For me, my Grandpa was always big. He had an easygoing demeanour, and loved all the simply good things in life: ice cream, music, children and a good laugh.
When I was little, he would read the comics while I sat on his knee. He liked "Peanuts" and "Blondie" and "Hagar the Horrible" and "For Better or For Worse." He did not like "Garfield."
It was sitting on his knee, reading the comics at age 4 or 5 that I thought to myself, "I'd like to write stories."
It was he that always delighted in our talents and skills. He was proud of his children, and his grandchildren.
Grandpa was born into a farming family. His whole life was spent working alongside, and for, his loved ones. He knew hard work, and how to enjoy life.
He married my Grandma 64 years ago, and together they made a life with seven children, my Dad being the fourth.
We lived in the same town as my grandparents, and in retrospect, that was one of the greatest blessings on my life.
I got to spend time with him. And he was generous with his time, and his talents.
A rocking horse, a doll crib, a piggy bank and other wooden toys are things I will treasure, thinking that he made these things lovingly for me.
Grandpa was a carpenter. His work still sits in homes in my hometown. With his hands, he carved out a living to support a family. He inspired my Dad to do the very same work, and some of his grandchildren after him.
He loved my Grandma. I suppose that in 58 more years, God willing, I will understand the depth of that love. I will understand what it is like to be the most significant person in someone's life, for over half a century.
People often talk about "their other half", and I can't help but see the two loving souls that are my grandparents' as fused together through time and space.
Through births, and deaths, and laughter and hard times, they belonged to one another.
To me, that is the beautiful reason it hurts so very much.
A man who has loved richly and fully. That's who he is.
Our hearts will ache for some time. We will miss him, and we will comfort one another.
Most of all, I hope we who are left behind can honour him by our own lives.