David's grandpa died on Wednesday night. He was almost 92, and he'd been in declining health for a good while. I haven't posted about it before because I was waiting on funeral arrangements to be finalized.
When David's mom called to tell him, he got off the phone, and we talked about going to the funeral. We weighed options, considered sending just him, thought about whether or not he could take the time off, asked ourselves if we had the plane ticket money for this in the budget. In the middle of that, David said something that just hit me right in the spot I needed to be hit.
He said, "You know, I haven't seen Grandpa much in the past 10 years. But all my life, I just assumed that when he died, I'd be there." He said it in kind of a musing way. And I realized that he was absolutely right. He had a relationship with his grandfather, and it is right to honor that by attending the funeral. Funerals are also a time when family comes together to remember, and David didn't want me to miss out on that. So... next Thursday we're all going to Texas for Grandpa's funeral.
I married David almost seven years ago. I've only seen Grandpa a couple of times in the years we've been married. By this time in his life, Grandpa wasn't feeling well, and he was struggling with the loss of his independance. I don't feel like I got to know the Grandpa that David remembers from his childhood. I am sad about that.
David has told me some fun stories about Grandpa, and a couple of nights ago, he told a few again. David drove with his brother, Danny, out to Texas to take him to college. On the way back, he stopped off at Grandpa and Ora's house. (Ora is the sweet lady Grandpa married after Grandma died.) Grandpa was a big game player. He was pretty competitive, and he loved to play dominos. It just so happened that David came by just in time for a senior citizen's domino tournament. At the time, he was thinking something along the lines of "Lucky me," but he was game for it. David's partner was 82; he was the only college kid in the room. His 82-year-old partner sure knew his dominos, and before David knew it, they were cleaning up. They beat everybody they played, and they made it to the final round, where they played... Grandpa and Ora. Grandpa beat his grandson at dominos, and David thinks he greatly enjoyed it. =) Hmm, I wonder where the competitive gene came from?
Though I didn't really know him well, I know that Grandpa deserves to be honored as a man who left an amazing legacy of faith behind him. I remember once that he asked to pray before we left, and I still remember his prayer. He prayed like a man who was really used to talking to His creator. But I know more about his faith from the children he leaves behind.
Grandpa and Grandma had 4 daughters. And what daughters they are! They are all strong, vibrant, active women, and all are Christians. Three of the daughters married ministers, and they went on to serve as pastor's wives in various ministries in churches from Michigan to Texas to Virginia and everywhere in between. (All the daughters are still married to the husbands they fell in love with 20-40 odd years ago.) The 4th daughter serves in her local church as well. When I think of all of them in my mind's eye at the moment, I see scenes of a flurry of church activity with each of these women at the center of it. They have been mighty for the kingdom of God, and they're not showing any signs of slowing down.
Grandpa's daughters have multiple children. The children are continual proof of the grace and mercy and power of God through the legacy of one faithful man and his wife. I have never seen a family with as many strong Christian grandchildren in it. Among their numbers are a missionary and a youth minister. The ones who don't serve in paid ministry are usually very active in lay ministry, following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. None of the married children are divorced, and some of them have been married for more than a decade. I have seen a lot of extended families, including my own. This kind of Christian legacy is rare and precious. It deserves to be honored.
Grandpa's children and grandchildren are proof that this passage of Scripture is so true...
"I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."- Exodus 20: 5-6
It's impossible to feel sorry for Grandpa in his death. He lived a long, full, healthy life. He knew his Creator, and he wanted to go and be with the Lord. I know that he's really loving life in heaven. There is no deep sorrow in this death; there is only sadness because he left many behind that loved him. Please pray for David's family in this time. They miss their dad and grandpa and husband.