Monday, July 14, 2008

Saying Goodbye

There is no easy way to deal with saying goodbye to someone you love. If they have had a good life, a long life, it gives you little solace in the midst of your pain. Those who leave us have no knowledge of what life is like without them, of how much they are missed, loved, appreciated. When someone we love is taken to "a better place," there is some comfort in that, but our hearts forever lack the fullness that their life brought to ours.

Even knowing that the time is drawing near, as a loved-one "gets on in years," doesn't quite prepare us for the moment it all becomes a reality. Death. We call it many things: passing away, leaving this world, going home to Jesus, the eternal sleep. Those words help us deal with what has happened, but they do not shadow the harshness as much as we may wish them to. Death comes to us all. Our time here is limited, some more than others, and I remain grateful for those people I have been blessed to know. People who have helped to shape me into the person I have become. People who have taught me about love, friendship, family. Life. But... death. It, too, comes with this life we embrace.

My darling grandfather, a man who was also a father, husband, cribbage lover, golfer, Hershey's guy, the maker of the best KNUCKLE sandwiches.... He is with us no more. He is with our Lord, God Almighty, in Heaven. Feeling no pain, no hunger, no thirst. Just joy. Eternal Joy. There is peace in that. There is peace in penning this entry - in hopes that it honors his life. My memory of him is precious. Sharing him with you may not bring him joy where he is now, but it brings comfort to me to do so.

Grandpa always called us granddaughters "twinkle toes." He stashed chocolate in his basement and let us have at it. He gave us nickels to play his slot machine and taught us how to play ping-pong. He played many card games, and would teach us cribbage if we gave him half a minute. He laughed a lot. He was charming, always using words like "gal" as a true old-fashioned gentleman would. He had a favorite chair, which of course was pointed at the television (he was a man, after all). He and my grandmother raised four children, and lost one to breast cancer. I don't think Grandpa could make himself more than a sandwich if he had to, but that was the generation to which he belonged. He was our grandfather, an honored patriarch of the clan, and he mattered to each of us.

God took Grandpa Home last night, and I can only pray that He has His arms wrapped securely around my grandmother as she is forced to say "good-bye" to her lifemate. Grandpa lived a good long while, for sure, and he was no babe when we lost him. Oftentimes, though, the pain of losing someone is not alleviated by the number of years we have with them. Sometimes, their time on Earth just makes that much more of an impact on the world when they leave it.

We miss you, Grandpa. We love you.

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