I wish I could give all of you a happy and everything is ok blog post, but that isn’t how this one is going to go.
I got a call on Tuesday afternoon from my mom and the second I picked up the phone, I knew it wasn’t good. My grandfather died on Monday night.
The man lived for 98 long years and I will never forget him as long as I have breath. I can still remember when I was a kid and every afternoon when I got out of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade him being there to pick me up. The man taught me how to write my first sentence, how to spell my own name and how to care for others. I can remember Christmases, church services, summer afternoons and weekends home from college. When I needed him, he was there. That’s about as much as you can say about anybody. He was always there.
I don’t think I ever had a real conversation with my grandfather after I reached my adult years. I didn’t have to; I knew what his answers would be. He lived his life as an open book. There were only a few simple principles to it: God, Family, and anyone in need of a helping hand. I truly think that he was and will continue to be one of the guiding lights in my life. At least I already realize that I’ll never be half the man he was; I don’t have that kind of strength in me. Nobody does. Others may disagree, but to me that’s truth. I’m trying to dedicate my life to service, and in some small way I’m doing this because I know it’s the right thing and all he ever wanted was for my family to be good people, and to try and do the right thing.
He grew up poor, served his country in WWII, worked hard, went to church every Sunday, raised four children and served his community at every opportunity. He read his Bible and was undefeated at Scrabble. I’ve never met in all my travels a man whose principles were held as tightly or who had a mind as sharp as my grandfather’s.
Now I have only tears to shed and a life to remember and look up to. I feel helpless here on the other side of the world. I can’t help my mother mourn or pick up the pieces; I can’t give my grandmother a hug and cry with her. I don’t cry (especially in front of people) but today has been spent in pain and nothing but tears. I went on a long walk by myself this afternoon just to be away from everyone. I looked out over the mountains and cried till it hurt.
I didn’t know what to do so I just picked a red rose and wrote my Granddaddy a letter. I think since here they keep the dead for a week before they stop mourning, I’ll keep the rose and letter hanging for that long before I take them down. It may sound strange, but I seriously don’t know what to do right now other than that.
I wrote you this letter and put it outside my door… I’ll always remember and love you.