05 June 2012

In Honor and in Memory

My grandfather recently passed away, and as I was working this evening I found myself thinking about him and his wonderful ways. The following is a list of just a few things I miss about him.

  • his hugs, which were all-encompassing and warm; 
  • his amazing and toothy smile, which he rarely went without; 
  • the way he would sing hymns and other favorite songs as he walked around the house; 
  • his laugh, which was rich and full of joy; 
  • the way that he embodied the idea that you can take a man out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the man;
    • His mantle was decorated with two shotguns, and a pair of spurs hung from them.
  • his humble nature, which was paired with a vocal and constant loving praise of others; 
  • his love of good stories, which was visible in his collection of books and movies; 
  • his faith, which was strong and deep; 
  • his jesting nature, and his ability to tell tall tales right along with truthful ones;
    • He told me one Thanksgiving that he had seen a turkey walking past the house, and that he had wished desperately that I had been there, because he was sure I would have been able to catch it for dinner. I bragged about this for much longer than I should have.
    • He gave me a Tarheel pin once and told me he had received it from the governor of North Carolina. I thought I'd caught him in one of his tales, only to find out later from my mom that he'd told the truth.
    • His escape from an MP when he was caught wearing a yellow-with-white-polka-dots bow tie with his military greens is legendary, and though the tale is true, his excuses to the MP were not.
  • his deep love for me and my family, and the bright joy he took in not only my engagement, but in the man I am to marry;
    • When I called him to tell him Stephen proposed, he could not contain his excitement. He could barely finish a sentence for the "Praise God" exclamations. In the middle of telling me his joy, he spontaneously went into prayer, and blessed the union of two wonderful families and praised the wonderful family we would have and become. It was intensely powerful; my mom, who was with him when we spoke, can't talk of it for tearing up.
    • In his last week, my parents were sitting on either side of him, holding his hands. My dad asked him if he could get my grandfather anything, and my grandfather's response was to squeeze their hands and say "I have everything I need right here."
  • his complete and generous love, which was shown for any and everyone;
    • He went into the hospital for a while last year, and he had all of the nurses charmed within a matter of minutes.
    • Even when he had lost the ability to speak more than a few words, and could only really answer "yes" and "no" questions, he still used "ma'am."
    • His last words were "love" repeated over and over again, said with joy and not tinged with fear of death.
  • the way he popped out of his armchair when he got up (his wooden leg hampered him standing up normally) and was an act showing his strength, which he kept for so long.
These are just a few things, and I'm sure I will add more as the days pass. For now, I just need reasons to focus on the good in missing him, and not on the pain I feel at knowing I will never see him again.