This is going to be a difficult post for me to write. It's hard to put emotions into words that can adequately express what I'm feeling.
On Friday I began receiving emails from my aunt about my grandpa's health. My grandpa was a very active person during his life; an extremely hard worker, a runner, a gardener. And later when he turned 80 he walked the Appalachian trail - the entire thing. But several years ago he suffered a stroke and his health really began to decline. As often happens with the elderly, he has lost an incredibly amount of weight. He isn't eating or drinking well and hospice gave him only a few days to maybe a couple of weeks left.
This breaks my heart. This is a man that I admire, respect, and love. And while I am aware that life ends, it doesn't make it any easier. To compound matters even more, I'm watching my dad lose his father. And let me tell you, that sucks just as bad.
So yesterday I left the kids with a friend and headed down to visit with my grandparents. They've been a huge part of my entire life. I'm conscious of the fact that most people my age do not have all four grandparents still living, still married to each other, Christians, and well aware of their surroundings. I am deeply blessed!
And yesterday I felt those blessings surround me all day long. It was there as my dad, my uncle, and my grandpa discussed how absolutely amazing heaven will be. It was there when we discussed the hard eucharisteo of death. It was there when I saw my grandparents lying there hand in hand as she rubbed his fingers. He's dying, but there is peace in that room.
There was also much laughter. Grandpa can still joke and tease with the best of us. We are really good at aggravating each other. =) His intelligence, wit, and love are all still there.
My grandpa is an amazing man that I will never, ever forget. His quiet example has done more for me than the most amazing preachers will ever be able to do. His faith is inspiring and uplifting. I know, without a doubt, that I will see my grandpa again in heaven.
And there is peace in the verse in Thessalonians.
Now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died* so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. . .
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died* will rise from their graves. Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:13a, 15-18
*those who have fallen asleep
I'm so thankful to be blessed with the amazing family God has given me! And I will continue to try to emulate my grandpa in his patient, uncomplaining look at life.
Love you Grandpa!