I’ve never handled death very well. Those of you that know me are probably wondering what I mean since no one super close to me has ever passed away. My husband, Chad, has thought I’ve needed to see a therapist for a while now to deal with my fear/paranoia of death. Chad can’t go out of town without me calling every few minutes to make sure he hasn’t died in a car accident. I often think about those I love dying, attending their funerals, imagining how I would deal with it. It’s really strange though because I’ve never really done that with my grandpa. He is going to live forever so why bother wasting tears and time preparing myself for something that will never happen. Well, over the past couple of months I’ve had to prepare myself. Even if he doesn’t pass away during his operation on Monday, he will pass away during my lifetime. And it sucks. It really sucks. He has been that one person in my life who has been my constant. My entire life he has been the same amazing Godly man who would do anything for anyone. He’s always been the same man who walked with me through the pasture as a child, who sat on the back porch swing with me and talked about everything under the sun, who let me sit in his lap while he drove the tractor, who taught me how to do math problems (and his way was way better than my teachers…and he didn’t even finish high school!), who let me untie the laces on his boots and take them off every single day after he got home from work, who let me go ride in the truck with him when he fed the cows, who loves my grandma more than I’ve ever seen a man love a woman, and who loves God with his whole heart. Even though we don’t walk through the pasture much anymore or sit on that porch swing as much, I still do it in my heart everyday. It was so nice to sit on that back porch swing with him yesterday and talk about “the good ‘ol days,” as he calls them.
And even though I want to hold onto him forever, I know that everyone has to die. It’s just like the Jon Foreman song, “Learning How to Die.” We are all on this earth learning how to die. Some do it well and some don’t. I can tell you that my Grandpa has spent his entire life learning how to die well. He has lived his life with grace, dignity, and love, and my hope is that he can continue learning how to die after Monday’s operation.
So if you are reading this please pray for my grandpa. Since we found out a couple months ago he has cancer, and in an almost inoperable location, I have learned to pray not only for what I want, but for what is best, even if I don’t like it. Sometimes I am selfish and beg God to keep him on this earth forever. But when I’m not, my prayer is that he will be in peace and not be in any pain, even if that means he won’t be here anymore. I have also prayed a lot for my grandma. They have been married for an eternity and I can’t imagine what it would feel like to know the person you love most in this world is sick in the worst way. So please pray for the doctors as they operate on Monday, pray that my grandpa feels no pain, and pray for my family. I know that when my grandpa goes into this next life he will be with Jesus. And like my grandma taught me about heaven when I was little, my grandpa will have the most jewels in his crown, have the biggest mansion, and his street will be paved with lots of gold.
I just thank God for him so much: for the memories, the life lessons, the example. I will have them in my heart forever. I love calling my grandparents just so I can hear him say “Bethany oh my Bethany” when my grandma hands him the phone. And even as I write this tears are streaming down my face at the thought of not hearing that again. But I know that God is good all the time and that I am going to have to give him up one day. And let me tell ya, if my future children do not get to meet him I will take them through that same pasture and we will sit on that porch swing and talk about my grandpa and the “good ol’ days.”