Well...it has been a week since my granddaddy passed...I am still in shock most of the time. I honestly feel like I am walking around in a haze...I miss him, A LOT. I miss his stories, I miss his hugs, and most of all I just miss knowing he is here. Last night was the hardest for me...every single time I closed my eyes, I saw him. It was so clear and so hard...so I just stayed awake. I know that as time goes on this hurt will become less and less and the grief will be more manageable. I am comforted knowing that he is healed and happy and I will see him again. I commented to a friend that I really wished I had the faith of my children. I simply told them that papa was healed and in heaven with Jesus. They asked if he would come back and I told them "no, he is too happy to come back, but he is waiting on us to join him one day" and that was it...no more questions...no sadness...just accepted it.
I took a few pictures before we went to Papa's funeral. I know that it seems odd to take pictures before such a difficult time, but I wanted them for memory sake. I wanted a picture of my hubby and brother in class A's standing with my Mama Beth and my mom. I was so proud of them and so glad that they were able to honor Papa by being pallbearers. Below are a few pictures:
Jason, Mama Beth, and my brother Jeremy
Jason, Mama Beth, Jeremy, and my mom
Jason and Jeremy
During one of my last visits with my Papa, he asked me to give a speech at his funeral service. I have never been so honored in my life. I have prayed (and had my friends praying) for God to give me the right words in the speech to express exactly how much I thought of my granddaddy. I wanted the speech to be honoring of Papa as I reflected over the man I know and love with all my heart. I could have probably given a 30 minute speech, but we were very limited on time. (Papa was buried with military honors and had to be at the National Cemetary at a certain time so we were on a pretty tight schedule) As the service drew closer and closer, the more and more nervous I became. I practiced the speech over and over...but I was still nervous. I was mostly nervous because I did not know if I could make it through the speech without shedding a lot of tears. As the time came for me to give my speech...I was pretty emotional...got through the 1st sentence and the tears fell...hard and fast...so I stopped, caught my breath, and just prayed for God to take over...and in that instant I felt a calmness that I have never felt before...a strength not of me. It was the most comforting feeling...and I did it...I gave the speech just like my granddaddy asked me to do. I have been asked to share the speech so I am going to include that here. I do not have an audio copy of it (yet) so I am just sharing the typed version.
Speech for Papa’s funeral:
Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of spending some quality one on one time with Papa. During one of our visits, I was able to take over 4 pages of notes. Notes about my Papa’s childhood growing up in a house with 12 children. How his days were filled with chores and schoolwork…and an occasional game of baseball. Notes about serving his country for 20 years and 29 days. A service that included a tour in Korea and 2 tours in Vietnam. Notes about raising 4 children. Not only raising them, but the pride of watching them grow up to be successful, loving adults. Notes about meeting, falling in love with, and marrying my Mama Beth. A 26 year marriage spent laughing, enjoying a game or 2 of golf, and enjoying time with the love of his life. And lastly notes about the joy grandchildren and great-grandchildren bring. The joy of spending time taking them to ride 4-wheelers, teaching (or trying to teach in my case) them how to ski, and spending quality time with each of them.
As I have reflected over those notes, one thing continues to come to my mind: CHARACTER. In Titus Chapter 2, the author Paul, outlines for us the duties and character of the older and younger. He says in verse 2: “that older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.” Verse 7: “in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, Verse 8: “sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” These duties described here were my granddaddy. He was dignified. He was sensible. He was sound in faith. He persevered. He was compassionate, loving, and respectful. He was understanding. He was an example of good deeds. He was dignified. And He was sound in his speech. Not only do these adjectives characterize Papa, but they also characterize his lifestyle. Papa was what I consider “all-inclusive” He was a faithful man. Papa gave us a faith to live by. Papa has always been an example of how to live in Christ and now he has been an example of how to die.
From this experience, I am learning that it is ok to grieve. We grieve because we miss Papa…and that is ok because we have faith. Faith that we will see Papa again. And because of that faith, we have HOPE- not hope as in “wishful thinking” but HOPE in the certainty that we will see Papa again.