At 87, he’d had far more than he thought he would.
Through the years he’d made so many good ones.
I think a life is best measured in love.
And if that’s so, my Grandpa Red had a full life indeed.
He slipped Home to Jesus last weekend with much of our family, including me, close by. If there’s fishing in heaven, I like to imagine that’s what he’s doing now. As my Dad said, he just won’t be able to fib about the size of his fish anymore!
Grandpa Red not only knew how to catch fish, he knew how to catch hearts too…
He caught my Grandma’s when she was only 15. They were married almost 65 years. In this world, that’s a rare accomplishment indeed. She said by his bedside, “Looking back, I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t love him.”
Grandpa Red knew how to throw out a joke or just the right line and land it in your day when you needed it most…
As kids, he’d take out his dentures and declare,“No cavities!” Then we’d all laugh and laugh. Even in the nursing home where he spent his last years he was a favorite–crowned King on Valentine’s Day, loved by many for that twinkle in his eyes and sweet smile on his face.
Grandpa Red knew how to reel in the right kind of relationships–good friends and close family ties…
His hands weren’t afraid of hard, honest work. His heart wasn’t either. He knew how to weld, how to make a car go again, how to make a grandchild grin…how to make things (and people) better.
Grandpa Red knew how to cast his faith and sink it deep in a way that got him through his share of hard (and happy) times…
His faith brought him through the Great Depression, raising two children and three nephews, battling ill health for years at the end of his life. He had the kind of faith that doesn’t always make a splash on the surface but you know it’s there and it’s real.
I stood in his room with my Grandma, Dad, Mom, Aunt, Uncle, and husband in the minutes after we’d let him go into the arms of Jesus. We talked of his life, how he made a difference in our family, told stories. And in the most unlikeliest of moments, we even laughed. Because that’s the legacy Grandpa Red gave us.
Sonic is a fast food restaurant in the South. They have a happy hour for cokes and other carbonated drinks. And where my Grandma is, there is always Sonic too. As we stood in that sacred place, I kept reading the words “Happy Hour” on cups.
And slowly, through tears, I began to realize…this is the gift Jesus gives us. That death is not something to be feared. Instead it’s transformed, redeemed, given back to us as the happiest hour when we go Home. Not because we’re good people but by faith in Him.
Oh, yes, those left behind grieve. Of course we do. Even Jesus wept. But somehow knowing that we don’t ever do so without hope makes all the difference.
Grandpa Red, thank you for your life. We love you. We’ll miss you. See you on the other side…
p.s. I’d appreciate your prayers for our family this week, especially my Grandma.
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