Death. What is it?
Death is cold. It’s harsh. Death makes you question your life. It makes you wonder if you really have a purpose. It makes you wonder when it will claim you. How much time do you have left? What would you do if you knew you were going to die tonight? Why is it so mysterious for the human race? Why is it so depressing?
Death has really only affected my life a few times. The first time it really hit me was when I was 11 years old. My grandfather died. I remember the day well. Almost too well. I remember waking up around 6:30 in the morning like I did every day, sitting on the brown couch in our living room and reading my bible. My mom came into the room and said, “Dad emailed, Nana said, Grandpa passed away early this morning.” I just remember the shock. It wasn’t too much shock. We knew it was coming. He was 86 years old. He had a couple of heart attacks and ended up getting the circulation cut off in one of his legs. The doctors had to amputate it 10 days before his death.
He died on a Wednesday.
I remember going to choir at church that night. We didn’t stay for youth group after. The Sunday before his death my parents had taken myself and 5 of my 6 siblings to visit him in hospice. Seeing him lying in that bed so peacefully without his leg was hard. That’s when it hit me that he wasn’t going to recover. Up until that day I’d had this undying hope that he would recover.
I remember the memorial service. I didn’t know many people there besides my family including my Nana, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. It was one of the hardest things I ever went to. I couldn’t stop crying. There were many stories told about him. My grandpa was a paratrooper in WWII. Four marines were there and they gave my Nana a flag, I remember watching them fold it. I wore this one black and white checkered dress, I never wore it again. Even to this day every time I see that dress I’m reminded of my grandpa. I still miss him every day. Especially during the holidays.
My grandpa was funny.
He had lots of great stories. I remember that he used to wear hearing aids and when he and my Nana would visit my family and my siblings and I would be too loud he would just turn them off so he couldn’t hear us. Many times when we were all together to eat dinner together, my dad would say something like, ‘Let’s pray’ and my grandpa would just say ‘grace.’ He always said it then smiled this smile that didn’t show his teeth. 7 years later I can still see him smiling in my memory.
I remember the one time my dad had me sit with my grandpa and get him to tell me his stories from WWII. I don’t remember the actual stories but I remember sitting next to him with a piece of paper and a pencil to take notes with. The TV was on and ‘This Old House’ was playing. I remember because the one guy’s name is Norm Abram. And my grandpa heard that and said ‘Abram is a Jewish name, you know.’
My grandpa hated salad.
I remember he would take one piece of each of vegetable. Oddly enough, one of my favorite foods is salad. I guess he didn’t rub off on me that way. He always wanted his coffee to taste like coffee ice cream. He would put whole cream and lots of sugar in it. This also didn’t rub off on me… I remember hearing stories that my Nana only ever made him one peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their almost 56 years of marriage. My grandpa would have a peanut butter sandwich and jelly sandwich but never together.
Ironically, my grandpa and Nana’s lucky number was 13. Most people are superstitious about 13. For them it was lucky. Fun fact, my grandparents have 13 grandchildren. Interestingly, my siblings and I make up more than half of them.
I miss him so much.
The hardest thing about his death was that his entire life he never showed any hope that he could be a Christian. Knowing that he is probably in hell is the hardest thing to think about. It hurts so much. I’ll never see him again.
I miss you, grandpa, every day. You have left your fingerprints on my life. I will never forget you. Thank you for being my grandpa.
I wrote this post yesterday, but I would say the coincidence is strong with this one. I was reminded this morning that today May 28th, 2017 would have been my grandfather’s 93rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Grandpa. I miss you.
Soli Deo Gloria,