Tuesday, January 31, 2012
My grandfather passed away Friday. I know I should be sad, and I am, but I am filled with more joy because I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is with our Father in heaven.
Grandpa was, as my Grandmother would say, "a true gentleman." Which was one of the main reasons why she married him, and for those of you who don't know, 20 days after their first date. He must of been a confident man as well, because when met her he called up his mother and told her that he had met the woman he was going to marry. I love hearing the story of their short courtship. Especially since they were married for 55 years. Which in these days we all know is hard to come by. True love. I never doubted their love for a second either because of the way he would look at my grandmother at times. It was in his eyes. Something I didn't know though, they had spaghetti for dinner on every anniversary because that was the dinner they had on their wedding night. He insisted, which I think is romantic.
The love that I speak of in his eyes wasn't just for Grandma, it was for all of us in his family too. The sparkle he had in his eyes and the smile on his face when any of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren walked into the house was an undeniable love. He loved spoiling us and teasing us at the same time. When us grandchildren were young he use to tell us that the boogie man lived in the closet and would get us if we didn't take a nap. His cane was also used on numerous accounts as a way to play with the great-grandbabies...And his lap always had an open invitation for them to sit on while he sat in his favorite chair. Not to mention the candy drawer that was always stocked with King Size Candy bars, which we could have as much as we wanted. However he did have some expectations of his grandkids...well at least from me I know that he expected that if I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies that I was to make a special bag just for him. Which I always did because I loved how happy it made him.
The great thing about grandpa was that his love and generosity was never limited to just his family. As my grandmother put it, if you were hungry and all he had was a loaf of bread he would give you the whole loaf and save nothing for him self. He volunteered countless hours teaching computer classes and assisting residents in his community at Lamplighter Village. He was also very involved with his church of 22 years, Rockledge Christian Center. He was always one of the first ones at the church every Sunday morning opening the doors and helping with the preparations for the day. He also was the go to man for the kids to get candy from.
Now we all know, that he was also a wise guy. He would always have a way of sneaking in a joke or two into a conversation, which usually in turn made my grandmother blush or shake her head. Matter of Fact, when he was being baptized Pastor Joe had asked him why it took him so long, and my grandfather replied, "Why did you let me take so long." Plus he was always up for a wise crack from someone else too and could go back and forth with the best of them. Which is one of the ways that he earned the nickname "Grumpy Old Man" which was bestowed upon by my sister, Michelle.
My grandpa, or Jim, or Papaw, or Pop-Pop...whatever name you called him was so many things to so many people. He was a gentleman. He was a man of honor, a loving man, a giving man, and a man who knew how to find laughter in life.
See, there are so many reasons why I know my grandfather is looking down on all of us right now smiling from heaven. He is no longer restricted by his disease and handicaps. He is no longer in pain. So, even though we miss him tremendously and we would give anything for just a little more time with him, I am joyful knowing he is happy. To add to the many reasons why I know he is happy in heaven. This past Sunday morning when I was at church our worship team sang a song that they had never sung before and while introducing the song they told us to have fun. As the song began to play I realized it was one of my grandfather's favorite songs, "I'll Fly Away". I feel it was my grandfather's way of saying hello and that he is happy and joyful in the arms of heaven.