My Grandpa Ward went home to be with Jesus about a month ago. He was 99 years old. He had been widowed for about 15 years. Slowly he had been living out his days visiting others in nursing homes, spending time with my uncle Paul and his family. He trucked back and forth from his trailer to Paul’s house. I had not seen my grandfather since I was 21. I feel bad about that. But I went up to PA for his funeral with Tessa and my parents. I reintroduced myself to my cousins whom I had not seen in many years. Thankfully, I know their lives through blogs and facebook, but I had not known my grandfather.
Now, I could beat myself up about that, but I was reminded by more than one of my cousins that my memories are better than what they might have seen closer to the end. I watched my maternal grandparents slowly die from their ailments. I’ve been there to help. Even Joel has had to pick up my great aunt off the floor when she fell. I’ve done laundry, gone to the hospital, and run errands for them. And I listened, as much as I could. I know what that end time is like. I saw what it was like for my parents who took care of them.
The joy is complete with that sense of ending. Like the struggle of writing a long, laborious term paper. There is exhaustion, satisfaction, and knowledge.
For those of us who know the Lord, there is that sense of newness. That this earthly body is no longer a cage, that there is a new place to be. An unimaginable place.
When we’ve talked about death with the kids, they always have the coolest things to say. Josiah shared some of the things that he envisioned heaven would look like. I loved it. You can’t really teach them that, they have the Spirit reminding them of what is to come too.
So far, death is something that stays in the camp of those “who have lived a good long life”. I know it will not always be the case. May God continue to bless those we love with a life that is long and fulfilled.
My Grandpa Ward had so many amazing quirks and sayings. My cousin Matt read the eulogy, and wow, it was by far the best things my ears have heard in a long time. To hear the stories of a man who helped form who I am physically and spiritually, it brought me such joy. I know my grandparents prayed for me. They asked God to surround me with his grace and to guide me. I avoided many fears and chaos because they were faithful, that I believe.
And I am joined with my cousins, and my parents, my brother, my aunts and uncles. We all got to sing, and smile, and hug, and talk about how good Grandpa’s life was because of how good God is.
My mom dropped off some goodies from my aunt Lois. Pictures and things that were my grandparents. These little tokens show me that I am not so different. That I come from a great legacy. One thing I wanted was a poster that my grandpa had in his study. It was a literal depiction of the Lord in Revelation. It always fascinated me. I’m not usually into this type of artwork, but it held meaning for me in my grandpa’s study. For as plain and simple as he lived his life, this image was nothing like that. It was the Lord he served and so it seemed to fit right in place.
It is the end of an era. All of my grandparents are dead. I have a summer ahead of me with joyful times to make with my children and another season of thanksgiving on my lips. It was hard and exhausting to go back and forth to visit my family but it was good for me. I do not get to kick back and reflect often. If I did, this blog would have more in it! It’s good to see where I came from, and that I am also a completely unique person. I reunite with my little crew and I feel that I am back in place. Right where I need to live out my days and serve.