Easy to remember since he was a veteran and all.
"Are the Christmas lights up all ready?" I ask.
"Oh, I'm workin' on it," he says. He explains Grandma doesn't like him climbing on ladders and that the lit nets were on the bushes, the angel up.
So spry and chipper.
A harder worker, I've never known.
Never has there been a time when Grandpa slacked on the chores or wasn't piddling around with some contraption or new fangled electronic.
. . .
On the farm, he learned the ethic of working hard under a father, who while I didn't know him seemed stern and oppressive. The work, grueling to be sure.
Crying on the phone with my dad this past weekend, he comforts me saying that in spite of this, Grandpa was good dad. A pattern of generational sin was broken, something that only the Holy Spirit could reverse by His work in and through my grandpa.
And so while we weep and grieve and mourn, we are thankful. Grateful for a grandpa whose love for God and God's love for him allowed him to be a good dad and a good grandpa. Someone who could show us in the flesh what hard work and faithfulness look like.
C.S. Lewis writes in A Grief Observed, "The death of a beloved is an amputation."
Surely, that is what this is. Like an arm or any other ligament, knowing what it was like to have him - we will miss him on this earth forever. We will miss his prayers before meals, telling us about "this and that," and saddend, too, that he won't get to meet one great-grandchild.
. . .
Talking about his cancer at Christmas Grandpa says, "The Lord has drawn me closer to Himself, and I couldn't ask for anything more."
I agree with Grandpa, that through this amputation, He, the God of all comfort, has drawn me closer to Himself and allowed me to see more of Him. Though there is hurt and pain, and while January 8th will always be etched in my mind, I still couldn't ask for anything more.