what legacy.

 {portrait I am working on of Grandpa}
The past couple of weeks have been extremely heavy and hard to wade through.  Most days time hung on our shoulders like thick mud, encasing our legs and feet and making everyday movements ridiculously difficult.  The first kind of heavy was the weight of unknown.  Which way would things go?  Which way would we choose them to go {if we had a say, which we did not}?  Wondering, praying and distracting ourselves.  Bracing ourselves in the same way you would head into a strong wind.  Guessing how things would end and preparing ourselves for that.  Finding a flicker of hope and now adding that into the equation.  Deep breaths, sharp pains, anxious thoughts.

Then a shift.  The end was inevitable.  The timing unknown.  A weekend?  A month? Who knew but God.  The waiting settled in now, knowing how things would go, helped.  No more questioning.  No more wondering.  No more guessing this or that.  Now we knew.  And the only factor was time.  We planned.  Distracted.  Prayed some more.

And then this past Monday, Doug's 92 year old grandfather passed away.  Left us to be with Jesus, which is where he talked about wanting to be more times than once.  We are thankful that we don't have to say we "lost" him, as some do.  We know exactly where he is, having gotten there in a fashion that I am assuming is close to the way he would have chosen to go.  Quietly.  Peacefully.  With the amount of dignity due a life lived like his.  As I have grieved his passing this past week, along with many others, one question keeps coming to my mind:  what do I want the boys to remember about him?  What legacy can I ensure gets passed on to these boys, who I pray are just old enough to remember him, because we made sure they knew him?  If I could pick ONE thing, just one, what would that be?

He lived an amazing life.  A life I try emulate on a daily basis, hard work pays off.  If I had to sum up his accomplishments, not worldly but God-edifying, it would go something like this: see a problem, get to work.  A little different from the norm today of: see a problem, who is going to help me, yes?

His life in a nutshell goes something like this: birth, siblings, both parents pass away, body cast, within days after getting out of that cast he is on a boat to America, alone at 14, with about that much money in his pocket.  He gets a job, works.  Meets grandma, they marry after a few short dates (having only seen each other a few times), he goes to war and serves his new country.  Has children, works hard.  Has a child with special needs, sees a hole in special needs care for children like his, creates a foundation to help his daughter and those like her (is still currently a successful group home healthcare setting for the blind and multiply impaired).  Retires.  Starts a contracting business.  Becomes one of the most successful contracting businesses in New Jersey.  Works into his late 80's.  Somewhere in there he drew up plans and built a home, with a pool to help his special needs daughter. 

When Doug worked at Target he bought Target stocks.  When we would come to visit he loved to talk business with Doug, and would ask all about the boys and our family, he was sincerely interested in our lives.  He wrote me a letter some time ago telling me what a good job we were doing raising our boys, to this day it is one of my most treasured items.  He loved God and loved others.  Well.  He worked hard.   

And that is the short story.

So with all of this on the table and more, swirling around in my head, I keep coming back to the question: if I could get the boys to remember one thing about grandpa, what would it be?

Grandma gave me the answer, and it keeps playing like a skipping record in my mind.

I called grandma a couple of days after grandpa passed away.  I just wanted her to know that we loved her, we were praying for her, we were thinking about her and that we were missing grandpa right along beside her.  She told me how much she JUST missed him.  They would have been married 72 years in February.  She told me about their last day together and how special it was to her and then she told me something that I will never forget...

She said "Crystal,  seventy-two years just isn't long enough with a man that good".

Yes.  This is what I want for my boys.  So, dear boys, and other grandchildren and great-grandchildren and children and nieces and nephews, my prayer for you, as we say goodbye to grandpa for now is that you grow up loving God and others with all of your heart and that one day, when you leave this world to see the Lord, others will say of you "seventy-two years a with person THAT good, just isn't enough".

Lord, let that be true of me, too.                 

6 comments:

amelia said...

Thank you for this, Crystal. I'm so glad that your boys got to know Grandpa as well - that's so special for them to have. Your post made me cry, especially when I read what Grandma had said. We are blessed to call him Grandpa.

Bunnyslady said...

I will keep your family in my prayers. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I have no doubt that the boys will grow up and believe the same. Just know that Grandpa is smiling down on you from up above and is back to his old self.

carey said...

Oh, what a beautiful prayer at the end.

Artsy Matilda said...

A post absolutely dripping with grace. Well done, Crystal. Blessings to you and yours.
xoxo
Cheri~

Christine Meyer said...

I too couldn't read this without tears as I remembered my childhood and lifetime best friend Janine's Dad who I have known my whole life. (He was an usher in my parents' wedding) He was always kind and a Godly man and it will be hard to see Clara without him at her side. But I am sure he is at the Bethany reunion in Heaven waiting for the rest of us to join him as he worships our Heavenly Father! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Christine Meyer said...

I too couldn't finish this without tears for a man I have known all of my life as best friend to his youngest daughter. He was also an usher in my parents' wedding. I am sure he is rejoicing at the presence of The Lord in the Bethany section of Heaven! Thanks for sharing with us.

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