I stumbled upon this journal entry written about the passing of my grandfather many months ago. I miss him.
For the first time I don’t know what to say. As quickly as I write, I delete. How do you write about a man so perfect it makes you question the goodness of your own human core? We would often joke with my grandma how it is that she married an angel. “He’s practically perfect,” we would say. How appropriate it is that while lying on the hospital bed during his final hours on this earth, my grandma leaned over and told the grandchildren, “You know, he will always be your angel grandpa. He will be there to watch over you and protect you.”
Between the spontaneous bursts of silent sobs, I’m often left wondering, why him? Why now? He had so much to give to the world. I’ve never met a more beloved man in my life. It’s not fair. As quickly as those selfish thoughts enter, I am reminded of his goodness. His ability to make even the worst of times a positive experience. He was selfless. His eagerness to forget himself and put the needs of others ahead of his own was an unmatched gift. Of course, I’m not here to paint the perfect picture of him…I know he wouldn’t accept it. I mean, grandma did say, one time, he broke a vase of hers on purpose because it did not match the caliber of his design preferences…
But alas, his goodness is all that I can remember because that is who he was–deep down in his soul. He was a good man. A man of honor. Of integrity. He was beloved by so many, not because he was the “dream boy” in high school (yes, that is a real thing), but because he loved so many. His love seemed perfectly crafted and hand-delivered, no matter the occasion.
The only thing I can replay in my mind from the past few weeks, is the image of my grandma sitting next to my grandpa in the hospital bed. After weeks of ups and downs, saying premature goodbyes and cheering with slow, small improvements — she was tired. Her head was rested on the bed with her arm outstretched, gently rubbing his frail, bruised arm. **When my sisters and I were little, we would “dibs” siting by grandma in sacrament meeting because (A) we were the closest to her and her candy-filled purse and (B) she gave the best back rubs. It’s the coveted massage from grandma that can soothe any athletic injury or ailment away. But not this time. The time had come. She knew it. Everyone knew it. Though, for some reason, I felt his spirit would never leave that hospital room. It just didn’t seem possible.
I woke up the next morning in serious contemplation, where did his spirit go? He was here, now he’s gone. So much can change in just a matter of hours. of minutes. The world as I knew it was different, and I was left to grasp a bigger picture. Something much bigger than me. Bigger than my grandpa. My arbitrary worries about work and the future melted away overnight, leaving me to focus on things of most importance: family, God, and heaven.
My heart aches for my grandmother. For my own mother and her siblings. For the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who haven’t yet acquainted themselves with him. It’s hard. Death is hard. But, I know, amidst the sandess, mourning and confusion, there is hope for tomorrow. I can feel it. My grandfather’s hands are still at work on this earth. Miracles are happening all around us. Relationships are mending. Hardened hearts are turning to prayer. Families are coming together to love and support each other.
Though he left a surplus of beautiful buildings (architecture), paintings and designs, I’m convinced the greatest legacy he left the world is that of his posterity. For he left a little piece of himself in all of us.
We love you, angel grandpa.
This is one of the last pictures taken of my grandpa, enjoying his family and loved ones.