August 1, 2018
As many of you know per my social media, my Grandpa passed away last week. Thank you to everyone who sent me and my family messages, texts, and comments. They mean alot to us.
While we knew that Grandpa wasn’t doing well (the family was in the middle of making plans for in-home care), it came as a shock to us when we learned he was passing away — alot sooner than any of us expected. I am thankful that I was able to get a flight to Virginia to be with him and my family 2 days before he passed. I wouldn’t trade anything for those 2 days.
My Grandpa was a great man. I wish you could’ve known him. He taught me so much, even without me realizing it at the time. He was kind, fun, wise, gentle, loving, gracious, caring…
It’s been over a week and I’m back home in Alabama now. All the memories are still flooding my mind. There are so many lessons I’ve learned from my Grandpa and lessons I’ve learned just in the past week as my family and I have been remembering all the wonderful things about Grandpa.
My Grandpa taught me how to keep a positive attitude even amidst trials and pain. He went through alot in his life. But he always kept a good attitude. I never once saw him with a negative attitude. And that is the truth. He will always be remembered as a kind, gentle, uplifting man.
My Grandpa taught me how to be thankful. On top of always having a good attitude, he always showed thankfulness. He was a grateful man. Even when he was in extreme amounts of pain in his final weeks on this earth and even with dementia, he would often tell his caretakers “Thank you” and “You’re doing a good job” as they helped him.
My Grandpa taught me that a relationship with Jesus is what is most important. For as long as I can remember, I often saw him sitting with his bible having a quiet time with Jesus early in the mornings. He was the Sunday school teacher at the churches he and my Grandma attended over the years. He often said “Praise the Lord!” at random. I loved hearing him pray. I know that Grandpa loved Jesus and I know that he is with his savior now. That brings such peace, hope and yes joy for my soul.
My Grandpa taught me the importance of not taking moments with loved ones for granted. Now that he is gone and I know that I won’t be able to hear his beautiful voice and his beautiful laugh or give him a hug anymore, I have learned to cherish every moment. I would give anything to be able to talk to Grandpa again, even if we’re talking about nothing at all. I wish I could just sit next to him and hold his hand… Now, I will do everything I can to cherish the moments I have with the people I love. I will do everything I can to be intentional with my time. Even just sitting and being with someone, showing them that I enjoy being with them, is important.
My grandparents have lived in my parents’ basement apartment for the past 4 years. Many times, when I went to Virginia to visit my family, I would hesitate before going downstairs to see Grandpa and Grandma because I didn’t want to bother them if they weren’t up for company. Now I see things differently. Now I wish I would’ve gone downstairs more than I did just to show them that I really do care and want to see them. We often hesitate to call people, text people, visit people because we don’t want to bother them.
Just do it.
Just send that text or make that phone call to tell them you’re thinking about them and to tell them you care. Visit your grandparents, your parents, your family. They are the only family you have. That time is precious and fleeting.
My Grandpa taught me that it’s okay to take photos of special moments :) While I know that most of us, myself included, don’t necessarily need a reminder to take photos (some of us actually need to reel it in;-), I do look at capturing moments a little differently now. As a photographer who has always loved capturing moments even more than the technical side of photography, this is something that I believe in even more deeply now. I know in even more depth now just how special those moments are for my clients on their wedding days and I will be even more intentional about seeking those moments out.
Last week, I was in charge of finding photos of my Grandpa and creating the slideshow and framed photos for the memorial service. While we have so many wonderful photos of my Grandpa to cherish forever, I wish we had more. I now know how special those seemingly mundane daily moments are for me and my family and I will do my best to capture them from here on out.
My Grandpa taught me how to delight. I remember so many times as a child where Grandpa would let us sit in his lap to read us a book. We would take us to the park or the pool. He would always play with us too, getting in the water with us or swinging on the swings with us. And the few times he didn’t jump in, he would smile as he watched us play. Even as we all got older, he would still just sit and watch and smile. I know he delighted in us… and we delighted in him too.
My Grandpa taught me how to treat people with kindness. I always knew that Grandpa was a kind, caring man, but my dad shared a story with me last week that just solidified what kind of a man Grandpa was. My dad told me that Grandpa would often take my dad to a certain Hardee’s near his house. Grandpa would walk in and look around — like he was looking for someone. Finally, one day, Grandpa saw who he was looking for. It was an elderly man who, from what my dad gathered, didn’t have any family or any friends. Grandpa brought my dad over to meet this man. He introduced my dad to “his friend”. He would sit and talk to the man. My dad realized that Grandpa’s only intent for going to that Hardee’s day after day was to go sit with this man, talk to him, and let him know that he was his friend. That was the kind of man Grandpa was.
My Grandpa taught me how to leave a strong legacy behind. Being with my family last week and talking and listening, I think my Grandpa would be proud. He left behind such a strong legacy. A family that loves deeply. A family that lifts each other up. A family that supports each other. A family that relies on Jesus. A family that cherishes every moment together. I love my family so dearly. I know that much of what my family is today is because of the example that my Grandpa was for us.
Grandpa, I know I’ve already written tributes and shared memories about you and cried about losing you and remembered all the good times with you, so I won’t repeat myself again here. But Grandpa, you were loved deeply. You ARE loved deeply. You were a wonderful man and I cherish every moment I got to spend with you. I am so proud to call you my Grandpa. I was always so very proud to introduce you as my Grandpa and I still am. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me. I promise to take what I’ve learned from you to live my life in a way that would make you proud. I love you, my sweet, precious Grandpa!