My heart is heavy tonight because my Granddaddy is sick. So very sick. The cancer has taken over his body, and it has happened so fast. He doesn’t have much time left. Cancer. . . it’s a devilish thing.

It seems that losing grandparents has become too frequent an occurrence for us over the past few years. It’s so hard watching family–the ones you love–grow old and sick and die. Each loss has been so hard. When you lose someone who has greatly impacted your life, it feels like you’ve lost a little piece of yourself as well. But this loss will be especially hard for me. Because when Granddaddy goes to be with the Lord, that will mean that both my mom’s parents are gone. Our chapter on this earth with Mama Grace and Granddaddy will be closed. . . the ending of a very sweet and precious season. And, even though I rest in the knowledge that I will see them again, it makes my heart hurt.

Jenny, Will, and I have always had a special relationship with Mama’s parents because we are their only grandchildren. And, oh my goodness, they’ve always treated us as if we were the most precious children in the whole wide world. I still have stacks and stacks of cards they sent in the mail for various occasions, always reminding us how proud they were of us. Oh, how they loved us and made us feel it. Throughout the last few days, my mind has been flooded with memories. Little things. Things like outings to Camper Park and Smoothie King and Chesterfield’s in Hattiesburg. Things like playing dress-up in their living room in Mama’s old ballet tutus and Mama Grace’s costume jewelry { And Will always wearing Granddaddy’s hats}. Things like vanilla wafers always in their kitchen cabinets and coke with big round ice cubes in tervis tumblers {we didn’t oft get cookies and coke at our own house, so this was a big deal :)}

I can’t remember a Christmas morning when they didn’t stroll into our living room a few hours after we had gotten up { at the crack of dawn} to listen and observe as we excitedly displayed our Santa loot.

Mama Grace and Granddaddy were truly made for each other. Both teachers, they were true academics and lovers of learning. They were both extremely smart. They were soul mates and the epitome of a faithful marriage. Granddaddy took faithful care of MG for years as her physical and mental health declined. It wasn’t easy, but he never loved her any less. Not for a second.

After Mama Grace died {almost four years ago}, we grew very close to Granddaddy. His life was no longer consumed with the complete and total care of another. He was still in good health at the time, and we really got to know him in a whole new way. While he was truly heartbroken to lose his soul mate, he firmly believed that God had him still living on this earth for a purpose. After she died, he grieved deeply. But he didn’t curl up a die as well. Granddaddy embraced his life. He sought to know God deeply and to be used by Him. He has been such an example to me of how to handle great loss and grief.

After MG died, He continued teaching {up until a month ago, actually}. He also tutored struggling students. He has stayed active in our lives as well. He never missed a Christmas at our house. At 84 years old, he traveled through the night to Louisville with my family to be there for Luke’s birth. {I love when he asks me how his favorite great- grandson is doing!} He befriended the most unlikely people and sought to reach them for the Lord. Picture an 84-year-old, straight-laced, academic inviting a 25-year-old struggling drug addict to church. Imagine them sitting beside each other on the pew—two men as different as night and day— one worshipping and one searching. Imagine that elderly man writing that younger man letters in prison—letters filled with truth and hope and encouragement. While it’s only one example among many, that’s a picture of our Granddaddy. That’s the kind of person he is. He’s an inspiration to us all.

So, if you think of our Granddaddy, please lift him up to the Father. Pray that God would grant him mercy even in his death– that he would not suffer or feel any pain. Pray that he would not feel any anxiety or fear but only peace. And pray for us too. We will surely feel a void when he leaves this world, but we do not grieve as those without hope. We rejoice that, when Granddaddy leaves this world, he is going somewhere better. He is going to a place where he will be healed. . . a place where he will get to hug his Gracie again. . . a place where he will see JESUS face-to-face. And we rejoice that this is not really the end. We will see him again too.

Father, thank you for the gift of Granddaddy–the gift that you have given me for 25 1/2 years of life. Thank you for using his life and his love to impact and bless me in more ways than I even know. Father, I know that all good gifts come from your hand, and I bless you for the gift of Granddaddy to me—to all of us. You are so kind. 

Granddaddy and me—circa 1988
Rehearsal dinner—December 2008

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