Watching my granddaddy die was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was extremely painful to watch as he held on as long as he could, but God gave me peace through the heartache. I knew that his pain was gone. That he knew the love of Christ. That he knew his family loved him. That he knew the joy that was waiting on him. There was a peace that truly surpassed all understanding.
After all of that, the funeral was easy. Being there when he passed, having said my goodbyes a thousand times, I didn’t need to say anything to his body, I didn’t need to touch it. I didn’t want to touch it. I didn’t want to replace the feeling of holding his hand as he passed with the feeling of his cold empty body.
During the funeral, I kept picturing my granddaddy and what he would think about all this. It made me smile. He was probably laughing, wondering what we’re doing making a such a big fuss of him. He probably got a kick out of his first meeting with his 3-year-old great granddaughter. After being in the funeral home for an hour she finally realized that there’s a body in the coffin and wants to know who it is. We tell her it’s her great grandfather. She proceeded to tell everyone “that’s my granfadur. He dead.” It was too funny, at least to some of us. I had the joy of telling her about granddaddy going to heaven. And she had the joy of telling her granny about her “gweat granfadur going to visit Kevin.” She was a little confused. She had so many questions. “If he’s in Heaven, why is he over there? Where is heaven? What is heaven? But he’s right there?” She eventually gained the courage to get a closer look. I saw her with her hands on the edge of the coffin, peaking over. I picked her up and held her as she gracefully ran her hand over his hair, and then not so gracefully poked his cheek. It’s incredible how the innocence of a 3 year old can bring such joy and laughter to such a mournful setting. I know my granddaddy was in heaven, smiling with those big blue eyes as he watched all his family and friends come together.
As I reflect on the last couple weeks, I am so thankful for a God to lean on who gives me strength – who offers hope and peace in times of sorrow and turmoil. I am thankful for the Truth of the Gospel – that my granddaddy didn’t have to earn his spot in Heaven. He simply had to believe in God’s son and accept his grace. I am thankful for family an how extremely accommodating everyone was. I am thankful for my husband who stood by my side. Who gave me space when I needed it. Who had the words to speak the Gospel to my family. Who took care of home while I was away. Who was there when all the built up sadness and hurt came bubbling over on Saturday night after everyone went to bed. I am thankful for you, Casey.
I learned a lot about the power and wisdom of God that week. About the way He will truly hold us if we let Him. How he can give us strength to hold on and be there for others, even in the hardest times. How His plans are sovereign. It was God who orchestrated having my granddaddy in Nashville so that I could spend time with him and that my grandma, mom, and uncle could stay in our home, and we could all support each other as a family during this difficult time. It was God who orchestrated Casey being able to share the Gospel. His fingerprints are everywhere. His divine appointments are waiting for us. We only need to answer the call, open our hearts, and choose to see the world through His eyes.
Thank you all for your love, support and prayers during this time. I don’t know what I would do without my friends, family and God – supporting and encouraging me along the way.