Friday, September 19, 2008


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. It is a delight reading through the memories others have of Grandpa.

April 2007


Karen said...

Beautiful memories, thanks Lin.

liz said...

I was just thinking about him this morning and telling the women in my book club about some of our conversations and the depth and scope of the detail he remembered from so very long ago.

I can't believe how much I still miss him. I think that with Grandma, I had so much time to get used to her leaving--and really, hope, that her suffering and disorientation would end--and with Grandpa, it was a sudden shock.

I still marvel, however, that he died like he did--at his age, in his own house, in his sleep. What a privilege!

I look forward to seeing both of them again! Thanks for posting this!

Martha said...

When we were in Ohio two weeks ago we went up to his house to pick blueberries. The last time I was in that blueberry "cage", Grandpa was standing next to me telling me how to pick them. As a teenager, I would probably have been irritated that he thought I didn't know how to pick blueberries, but as a 30-something woman, I let him give me all the advice he wanted. This last time, all alone, I wished that he were there so I could ask him questions and hear him tell me all about blueberries. I miss him, too.

LindaSue said...

yeah, I miss him -- Liz, you're right. I meant to write about that, too. Having so much time to "say" goodbye to Grandma. I knew eventually the time would come for Grandpa, but he always seemed so strong, even when you could see age take it's toil, that it just didn't seem like it could happen "so soon." And I know that it's only a matter of time before I get the call on Grandma Toth, too...but I hope and pray that still won't be awhile!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Linda. Not a day goes by that I don't REALLY miss Grandpa. Even now, as I read this, I can hardly hold back the tears; not only because of how much I miss him, but that I have the inmense privilege of knowing how much he was loved by everyone! That's one more characteristic of Grandpa that I want to imitate - cultivating relationships!
Love you!
A. Kath

precious grandma said...

After Grandma died, Grampa told me that he wanted to "go" just like grandma...only in his own home. God gave him the desires of his heart, like he promises He will.
Not a day goes by that I don't think of him and some of the little lessons (and big ones, too) that I learned from him. I used to call him and Gram every day just to check in and make sure they are ok, then chat about the grandkids, our fruit trees,garden, etc. I still find myself wanting to call him to tell him the latest funnies from our grandkids. He so enjoyed knowing what the kids and greatgrands were up too. He would have loved Moriah's comment while picking up maple twigs in our yard after the wind storm. She excitedly exclaimed, Look, grandma, we're going to have blueberries just like Grandpa Pavkov's! I couldn't convince her otherwise!
And he would love Susanna's goal to drive the BIG John Deer when she gets older!
What a blessing to have been one of his children! I feel bad for those who never had the privilege of knowing him and Grandma. Our lives (and so many others) are so much richer because of them. What an example to others! I just pray that some of their characteristics rubbed off on me!

GramSchley said...

You know, it doesn't even seem like a whole year is gone already. There were SOOOO many times I had the thought to go, or call, or invite to a certain program at church, etc. etc. in the past year. I see some old grandpa-looking guy walking around town and think it could have been him 10 years ago.
His yard is not like it was when he was around, his fruit trees and bushes, not sprayed or pruned and are not the same, his flowers not blooming in the beauty of his eyes, the house is total quiet....
Lin, you just made me wash my eyes in tears as I read the memories all over again.
Love you all....A.Carole

LindaSue said...

I'm honored to have cousins and siblings (aunts and mom) respond to this post. Not just the memories but your words bring tears to my eyes. Saying goodbye can be hard, even a year and longer, but isn't it great knowing it's just a TEMPORARY goodbye? (I wonder what kind of gardening types God's giving Grandpa!)