As my regular readers are aware, it’s been a rough time for my family lately. Granddad passed away around 3 o’clock on Thursday October 11th. He will be greatly missed by us all. I’ve been told by a few people that reading my entries through this whole thing has been comforting to them. I’m so glad. I’ve drawn a lot of comfort from the support offered to me by so many of you.
Since Thursday, my aunt and uncle opened up their home to all of us. It’s served as the base where food is delivered and serves as some insulation from the outside world. As much as I appreciate the concern, there are only so many times I want to answer the question, “How are you doing?” and “Are you okay?” Not to mention, “Is there anything I can do?” I am doing as well as can be expected. Honestly, even though I had been preparing for this, it has still been a lot harder than I thought. There is something you can do, keep us in prayer. If you want to do something in addition to that, the family has asked that donations be made to Odyssey House or the American Cancer Society. By no means do I want anyone to refrain from showing their concern, but it is nice to have a haven from it.
I don’t know how it is with other families, but there haven’t been a lot of tears when we are all together. We’ve brought in everyone’s photo albums which have been strewn about my aunt’s living room and den. She and my mother are scanning select pictures to be made into a slideshow for the memorial service. The rest of us have been sitting around looking through the albums and reminiscing about wonderful stories. There are several pictures that I had never seen and stories that I had never heard. There’s lots of laughter and the love is tangible.
In one album were sketches that I had heard about, but never previously seen. I will be getting copies. These are beautiful pencil sketches done by POWs after WWII. Two of Granddad and 2 of the office they built for him. Granddad was over a POW camp in France. Granddad always treated these men as equals. He knew they had been drafted into the war just like he was and never treated them as enemies. The men loved him for it. They built him his own office, made him a clock, and crafted an ashtray out of artillery shells that is in my mother’s living room today. The clock was stolen by a GI that was charged with making sure it got home. The POWs shipped the ashtray and that actually made it back. He treated those men with dignity which they returned to him. I don’t believe Granddad ever met an enemy, just peers that happened to be on the opposing side.
Yesterday my cousin, who has an inborn gift for children, brought sugar cookie supplies. Her 2 year old son and my 8 year old son made cookies. When it came time for sprinkles, he said to my son, “open your mouth” and proceeded to sprinkle directly into my son’s mouth. Everyone cracked up. I’m so proud of my son for doing so well with his younger cousins. Actually I am very proud of the way he has handled all of this. Explaining Granddad’s death to him was one of the hardest things to do. As he said his prayers the other night he asked that God show Granddad around in heaven so Granddad could show it to us someday. Kids say it so well sometimes.
Tonight, the church is feeding the family. I am looking forward to some more family time. The memorial service is tomorrow afternoon. It’s going to be hard. As will the upcoming holidays. But I am really lucky to have my family and my wonderful spouse with me. I think it is better for us to have each other to lean on.