June 1, 2004. Today a candle burned out, tonight the music fades.
My grandfather passed this afternoon. He was 87 years old, frail, and weak. He’s been a soldier for the past few years, battling the years as they fought him with heart attacks and strokes and many other ailments. His grip was iron though, and he held on strong. He’s been burdened by death for much longer than he suffered it. And tonight he’ll finally sleep in peace after so many years.
His spirit, trapped in this old body, was probably long ready to move on, but he held on for hope everlong.
My wife and I traveled south last weekend to visit my grandmother and him. We took Callie to meet him for her first, and last time. As he lay there in the bed, too weak to reach out and touch her, we put his hand on her little foot. She sat there staring at the man who’d left a legacy long before he left us. Her tiny mind could not yet comprehend the greatness that lay before her, nor could she reckon the fate that surely lay ahead of him, so short ahead.
The difference of almost ninety years separated them; while he lay there celebrating his last big event, she sat staring right back at him. She turned four months old the next day, just getting started on a long life, and he passed the day after that – just 48 hours after meeting his infant great-granddaughter. I’m so glad he waited.
I’d never wish upon one the incoherent struggling and restless painful nights through which he lay awake. But I thank the Lord he waited.
I regret that my daughter will grow up never having known my grandfather, but I know he held out to see her, and that was my last wish for him. In his poor health, I’ve set hopes for his meeting my wife once I married, then sometime in the future when we decided to have a child, I hoped he would still be here to meet her.
When my phone rang this afternoon, I looked down and saw that it was my Pop. I instantly knew what he would tell me. And as I hung up, I put on a song in his memory and praised him for making it. He did it. He lived his life a noble and great man, spreading God’s word and living as an example for others, achieving what so few of us dare to even try.
His legacy will live on for many generations to come. And tonight, despite my tear-filled eyes and aching heart, I nod knowing my daughter and he had the honor of meeting one another. I bid you farewell, Grandfather.
Good night, Sweet Prince.