So many thoughts are tumbling through my mind right now. My "Papa" passed from life into glory yesterday.
He was a story-book type of grandpa. I'll never forget the way he would make time to play with us, to chase us around the yard, to let us "climb -the-mountain" and then swing us down.
He'd mow his lawn with an old fashioned push-mower, letting us "help" push it up the hill, and then share his diet coke with us, as a treat. To this day, diet coke is one of the only sodas I like.
I'll never forget the way his beard tickled my ear when he'd whisper secrets. Sometimes it was a silly tongue twister, but often it was, "Never forget, Papa loves you very very much."
When I was 3 we moved into the house next-door to Papa and Grandma. Those twelve years were such a gift! I got to know my grandparents for who they really were. Whenever Papa would go anywhere we'd wait in anticipation for his return. We'd run down the street and flag down his car, which he would then let us "drive" home. (Until we were too big to sit on his lap and squeeze beneath the steering wheel.
In Papa and Grandma's house there's a sign over the dining-room. It says "All because two people fell in love..." Eleven children, forty-five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. The last time I saw Papa, he pointed out that sign to me, (he was so proud of it, and pointed it out at least once per visit) and said, "Look what the Lord did!"
His last few weeks were spent in and out of the hospital. He declined really fast. The last few days his speech was so garbled nobody could understand him, but he continued to tell story after story, to beam with joy when his kids and grand-kids were around, and to tell us that he loved us.
I've been so privileged, so blessed, so joy-filled! Without hope, there can't be any joy, but I have hope. More than hope, I have faith. I know I will see him again.
Papa, I'll never forget. And I love you too.