It has been almost a year now since receiving that phone call..."Lin, I wanted to let you know that Grandpa died in his sleep last night..." or something along those lines. I felt joy for Grandpa -- his reason for living left three months earlier when Grandma went to be with Jesus and it was just as if getting through each day was a chore. Knowing it appeared that he went peacefully was reassuring.
What I remember most about Grandpa was always his one word answer to "how are you?" "Thankful." After Grandma passed away, I don't remember hearing him ever say that again. He would give a deep sigh and reply, "I miss her." Even through the last years with Grandma battling Alzheimers and other age-deteriorating things, with her often not recognizing him, Grandpa was always there for her.
Grandpa could be, I suppose, what some would call "crochety." You never wondered what he thought about something because he didn't hesitate to speak his mind. He was open, he was honest, sometimes painfully so, and if he didn't like something, he'd let you know. There were many people he did not agree with, but to my knowledge, he never let disagreements affect relationships. He was firm in his beliefs, strong and reliant, dependable, and he had a passion for missions and traveling.
Grandpa was a pastor and elder of the Apostolic Christian Church forever, it seems, and helped build many a church, spiritually, financially, and physically. He loved to garden, and I think when I married a hard-working farmer that helped forge an even deeper bond between us. He loved to call and talk to Tony, asking questions, giving advice, and if Tony wasn't available, he'd ask me to pass the questions and advice on to him.
I learned even more about my Grandpa through writings of my aunt's after he passed away. My heart went out to the little boy who lost his mother at age five. That might account for how it wasn't easy for him to vocalize his feelings to us, but you could tell through his actions and the smile on his face (and in his voice on the phone) how much he truly loved each of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren...although his love for Grandma was even deeper...and his love of God even more so. He was proud of each of us and lived for and loved our telephone calls and visits. I remember one conversation with him where he must have told me ten times in fifteen minutes about Richard calling him all the way from Switzerland! Not because he didn't remember telling me but because it meant so much to him. And it was like that with each one of us who called or stopped by or wrote a letter. He so often bragged about his grandchildren to others.
You take so much for granted when someone is still alive. I wrote before how I had planned to call him the night before he passed away. But...time got away from me, I had to get kids to bed, I forgot...then it was too late that night...and then it was just too late. I regret not calling the moment I thought about it...but I wouldn't have wanted him to stay here for one moment longer just so I could call. After all, he was finally united and reunited with the two things that gave him the most joy -- Grandma and God.
There aren't many men left like my Grandpa. My friend Jane's husband recently passed away, and he reminded me so much of Grandpa. My father-in-law also is very much like Grandpa, as is my husband. Hard-working, God-fearing, honest, strong, honorable, respectable, and respected...and very deeply loved.
If you would like to read more about what others shared about him, you can follow this link to the obituary guest-book online until September 24. http://www.legacy.com/ohio/GB/GuestbookView.aspx?PersonId=95026487 It is a delight reading through the memories others have of Grandpa.