If I shared every thought I’d had these last several days, my fingers would go numb from typing.

This week, I lost my first grandparent. My Pawpaw.

It was expected, but not. He had been in failing health for a long while and was entering further and further into the darkness that is dementia. It has been a painful experience to witness his decline, standing helpless on the sidelines. I prayed for his healing and that God would release him from his physical and mental misery and I also prayed that when He did, that He would take him quickly and painlessly home.

God heard those prayers and He answered them when last Tuesday morning, Pawpaw left his earthly vessel and stood before the Great Physician Himself. Perfectly and completely healed.

My Pawpaw was from that generation of men and women who learned how to work before they learned anything else. And he worked hard all of his life. He earned so much respect from those who worked with him and for him and it was evident this week as countless people poured through the visitation.

He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge, serving as Master many times and mentoring young men as they came up through the ranks. These Masonic Brothers were nothing short of heartbroken to lose their friend and mentor this week and they spoke so many kind and respectful words about him. I’ve never seen so many grown men respond to a death the way these did. The bonds they share in their brotherhood are profound to witness.

Personally, I have been thinking back to all of my times with Pawpaw. He helped teach me to swim. Taught me to play dominoes and gin. Let me tag along with him different places. I’m thankful for my childhood memories of him and for the way we bonded when I was just a little girl. And I’m thankful he got to meet MY little girl. There wasn’t a time that he saw Reagan that he didn’t comment on how beautiful she was and the picture I have of him holding her as a newborn will be a precious, tangible memory that I will treasure forever.

He wasn’t perfect. Lord no. The man had a fiery temper – and I never even saw it when it was at it’s peak, only heard the legendary stories. And he was probably one of the most stubborn individuals on the planet.

But he had a great sense of humor. Diabolical really. He loved to laugh and loved a good joke, a funny story.

So even as I type this I see where I get some of my best and worst traits.

I don’t think the reality of him being gone has quite sunk in just yet. To know that I won’t hear him say, “Love you too, hon’.” when I’m getting ready to leave from a visit is hard to grasp. It’s even going to be strange to not have him ask about my “new car” when I come over – the one I’ve had for 12 years and came to see him in every one of them.

I’ll think of him often. At 6 feet 4 inches he was one of the biggest men I ever knew. Strong, powerful hugs and tight squeezes of the hand – I’ll miss those. I’ll miss making him coconut cake for his birthday. I’ll miss watching reruns of Bonanza and Gunsmoke with him. I’ll miss his prayer before meals – so familiar I could say it in my sleep.

But for all these things, I still can’t find it in my heart to be overly saddened. He was so tired, so unhappy, so weary. I know he was ready to go home. I know that he is in the presence of Perfect Peace and that he has cried his last tear. I know that he has seen loved ones he missed and has finally seen his Jesus face to face. And I know that he’ll be waiting on me when I get home too.

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