My Grandpa has always been a big part of my life. At times, my family lived with my grandparents, other times we lived within 1 mile of them. All in all I think 13 of my 17 years at home were spent within a short distance to Grampa and Gramma.
Several years ago Grandpa started his fight with cancer. Recently, the battle was getting worse. As a family we went to visit them both in August and in November. I am so thankful for the time we had with them.
Sunday April 3 we got word that the hospice nurses thought Grandpa would pass within 24 hours. Every time my phone rang, I held my breath thinking it was THE call. The next few days were so hard. My Grandpa preached at my wedding, he was the one we would always go to with Bible questions, he knew everything! My first job was working with Grandpa and Dad with the painting and paperhanging business and then in rehabbing homes. I used to have to pick scraps of pasted coated wall paper from my hair because "somehow" it always seemed to fall on my head. I was the "gopher" for Grandpa for a long time until I was finally a painter/paperhanger as well. When I stopped to think of my memories with Grampa and Gramma I realized I have way to many to even write down. I have nothing but memories with them. They were always around and always a part of my life. They went to my choir events, church things, any awards ceremonies from school, they were there. If I tried to list them all the list would just go on and on. I can't say I remember any particular "gift" they gave me, because any of the tangible gifts they gave me were not as important to me as what they did give... they gave me their time, their prayers, their love, and a Godly heritage!
Grampa was saved (saw himself as a sinner and knew that only God could save him through Jesus' shed blood and resurrection from the dead) around 17 years old, went to Bible college and served God in full time ministry for over 40 years. He started a few churches, pastored a few others, was a missionary, etc. Grampa and Gramma spent their lives serving God and touching thousands of lives. Other men are still in the ministry today that Grampa mentored. One of Grampa's worse pain days ever his Pastor asked him what he was looking forward to about Heaven. His Pastor thought he would answer "No more pain." But not Grampa. His answer was that he is looking forward to not sinning ever again! He knew in his pain he had said hurtful things to people he loved and was tired of a sinful world, looking forward to never sinning again! There is no doubt, Grampa knew Heaven was his home based on the Bible promise that "Whosoever calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Praise the Lord! Sunday night Gramma made sure we all got to skype with Grampa. Even though he couldn't talk she said he could hear and understand still.
Later that night, based on my understanding of his vitals, he slipped into a coma. He didn't wake up again. Late on the 5th and into the 6th my aunt, cousins, and other family were there with him and started singing hymns. They then played the song that became his favorite in the last few months, "I can only imagine". After the song my aunt told Grampa that everyone was alright, that if he was at peace with God stop imagining and make it reality. When he was ready go, make Heaven a reality. A few breaths later Grampa no longer had to imagine what Heaven is like. He was there!
We left on Thursday for the services. Friday morning was the viewing then the grave side. The memorial service was later that night. Praise the Lord one of our nurses was willing to go with us and help take care of Dillon so we could sleep at night. It was a huge blessing.
The services were hard for me, not because I don't know where he is, but because I will miss him. JayDonn kept reminding me that I will talk with him again and see him again - when I get to Heaven one day. Thank you Jay! I needed to be reminded of that! Josiah sang "Celebrate Me Home" at the memorial service. You can watch that by CLICKING HERE.
We will miss you Grampa, but we are celebrating you home! Not "good bye", but "we'll see you later!"