August 22, 2015

Grandpa Jack

This week, our family lost our beloved Grandpa Jack.

When Grandpa spoke, you listened. He had a gift for words and was one of the kindest, wisest people I will ever know. He lived a long, beautiful life, and he made all of his years count.

In July, just a few weeks ago, my brother, sister and I were able to visit with Grandpa and our Maine family. I will treasure that visit forever and am so incredibly thankful we were given that time with him. Grandpa and I had some amazing conversations on that trip. He told me how happy he was for us, and how patient we had been on our journey to parenthood. I asked him if he wanted to know the names we had picked out for our baby, and he smiled, shook his head and said no, he wanted to be surprised just like the rest of the world. I had so hoped he would be able to meet our child in person, and yet, this week I found myself comforted by the beautiful fact that he probably already has a sneak peek from heaven.

He also said that he was thrilled that all of his children and grandchildren had picked out the perfect spouses to spend their lives with. What better gift, he said, could you ask for than for a partner to know what you need with out ever having to ask. I love him dearly.

It's because of Grandpa that I have a deep love for Duke basketball, something that began in early childhood. Grandpa always taught us lessons, in the best way, by example. One time, as a child, we bought a carton of Edy's Rocky Road ice cream. He didn't think it had enough nuts in it, so we wrote a letter to Edy's explaining this. They wrote us back and sent us some vouchers for more ice cream. I remember thinking that was the best thing ever, and that even my voice could be heard. It's because of him, and my dad and mom, that I became a teacher myself.  My siblings and I have years of happy memories with him and my Grandma Lucy. I can smile thinking of them reuniting once again.

When we said goodbye in July, I got to tell him I loved him a hundred times and hear that he loves me, too. We hugged and I cried, sensing, I think, that it may be the last time I get to do that here on earth. I am so grateful for those moments.

I find it only appropriate that while we were talking during this last visit, he said something that profoundly affected me. I wrote it down right after because I really wanted to remember it. Here's what he said:

Consider each season of your life as a stage. You have the props and the script and it is up to you to decide how the story unfolds. It is life's gift to you, and it won't last forever. But another stage will be set and another gift will come with it.

I love you, Grandpa. May you rest in peace and may you live on through us and all those whose lives you have deeply touched.

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