Today I feel the need to be a little bit nostalgic. This past Wednesday, a wonderful man in my life, my grandad, went home to be with Jesus. I write this blog with tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness, but also tears of joy. Tears because I will certainly miss this man, tears because I never got to say an official goodbye, tears because I didn't get in that one last hug... but also tears that celebrate his life, tears that rejoice in the amazing man that he was, and tears of joy as I picture him skipping (yes, skipping) happily along through those pearly gates.
It one of those times when I wish everyone I knew had met my grandad. I wish that everyone I knew would have been able to sit and enjoy the blessings and the wisdom of this man the way that I did. Words just don't seem to be enough to really share what he has meant to my life.
As a small child, we spent a couple days a week at my grandparents house. I remember running up to the door each time, ready and excited for the day, knowing I would be completely and utterly spoiled! Mamaw and Grandad's house was the best. no contest. During those days, we would spend the morning with my grandma but I remember eagerly awaiting for my grandpa to get home from work. I remember climbing up into his lap in his big, comfy recliner and watching whatever sporting event was on tv. I remember the comfort and peace that was brought about just by hanging out with Grandad.
Even at 24 years old, every time I walk into my grandparents house I give my Mamaw a big hug and then walk straight to my Grandad's chair. Even at 24 years old, he let me squeeze into the chair beside him. Even at 24 years old, he let me climb up beside him and just sit. We didn't always exchange many words, but he would always hold my hand and continue to rock back and forth, simply allowing me to be a kid just hanging out with my grandpa.
Not only did this man in my life exemplify what it means to be a wonderful grandfather, he was also an extraordinary father, husband, and man of God. It's from my grandpa that my own father learned what it means to be a gentleman, what it means to be unselfish, and what it means to truly take care of your family. Even at 81 years old, my grandad always opened the door for my grandma. At 81 years old, he still got up and went to work every single day, always wanting to be able to personally provide for his family. I even distinctly remember that at every meal we would eat my grandpa always made sure everyone else had food on their plates before he would fill his own. My grandad was a true gentleman in every form of the word.
I sat down yesterday and made a list in my head of all the wonderful things I wanted to remember about my grandad.... I want to remember how big he would smile when we would banter back and forth. I want to remember that how by the end of the day, he always managed to have at least one small stain on his shirt from something he had eaten. I want to remember how he could never find his own reading glasses and would
resort to wearing my grandma's instead. I want to remember how proud he was off all his grandchildren, and how excited he was to hang new pictures of us in his office at work. I want to remember how every Christmas he would suggest that we open gifts starting with the oldest first. I want to remember how sometimes he would get so comfy in his big chair that it would take him three good rocks back and forth to get up. I want to remember how much he loved the Arkansas Razorbacks and could talk about them all day. I want to remember the look of admiration he would always give my dad, acknowledging just how proud he was of him. I want to remember how he didn't have to say many words, and yet you knew that this man truly adored his family.
I distinctly remember when my grandpa found out that I was leaving for the race. I think for a couple weeks straight he would call my dad up every day and ask him if he was sure this was something I wanted to do. He was worried, as many parents and grandparents are, but soon enough he understood the importance of this trip in my life. The last memory I actually have of my grandad is when we went out to eat with the family the day before I left. As I hugged him and my grandma with tears in my eyes, I remember him saying to me "I'm really proud of what you are doing." Even at 24 years old, those words spoke straight to my heart.
My grandpa was an absolutely wonderful man, and while I will miss him deeply... I choose to rejoice. I choose to celebrate the fact that he lived 81 beautiful years of life. I choose to celebrate that fact that for those 81 years he was surrounded by family and friends that loved and adored him. I choose to celebrate that his life was one of greatness, one of success, and one of joy. I choose to celebrate that his life here was only a small glimpse of the life he now gets to live for eternity. I choose to celebrate the fact that one day my grandad and I will be united again, that one day he and I will walk along streets of gold, that one day he and I will dance together around a heavenly throne!