Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Beautiful Goodbye

Grandparents are a family's greatest treasure, the founders of a loving legacy, The greatest storytellers, the keepers of traditions that linger on in cherished memory. Grandparents are the family's strong foundation. Their very special love sets them apart. Through happiness and sorrow, through their special love and caring, grandparents keep a family close at heart. ~author unknown

For 30 years, I have had the great joy and opportunity to know and love all four of my grandparents. I think it's a rarity that someone at the age of 30 still has each of their grandparents and it is one of my most cherished blessings. This past week, I had to say my first goodbye to a grandparent, Grandpa James. There is a bond that a grandchild has with a grandparent and when that is broken by death, it hurts deeply. 

There are not enough kind words to say about my Grandpa, but I'm going to try... 
Grandpa was kind, gentle-hearted, patient, handsome, intelligent, talented, hard-working and loving man! He loved his wife, family, friends, church and Lord endlessly. He had a mischievous smile, which would be followed by a soft chuckle, that I will long to see and hear. He was a great hugger; I would love to get a Grandpa hug as I walked in and out of the door of his house.
 There was never a time that I left his house without learning something new (or old) about him, his family, or how to do something. Like the time he taught me to change a kitchen faucet.  He was not feeling great and instructed me how to change out the entire faucet from the kitchen chair (truth be told, if Grandma had not been home with a watchful eye, he would've done it himself!!) The only instruction he 'forgot' was not to leave the wrench clamped on the pipe and let go.. it will fall off, you will get a bloody lip, and he will have had a good laugh!
This smile was BEFORE the bloody lip

*If you note the flashlight in the background... something that Grandpa taught my dad and something that was passed along to me... how to hold a flashlight for someone else. The flashlight holder is an important job, if you don't believe me, ask someone to hold a flashlight for you when you are trying to work on something in a dark space and you will realize quickly that having a "qualified" flash-light holder is VERY important. It is also important when you do not have a flash-light holder to know how to position your own flashlight, as in this picture... all grandpa taught! Dad mentioned this at the funeral and we all had a small chuckle, just as he would. I loved finding this picture!

I loved Grandpa very much. I loved everything about him. I loved his pure sweetness. I loved his heart. He was one of a kind! I am such a lucky girl that "Grandpa James" was MY grandpa! He will be forever missed. I'm grateful for the time I had with him and the legacy he leaves behind. I'm also grateful that he passed every wonderful trait he had to my dad! I see so much of grandpa in him... his demeanor... slow-to-anger, quick-to-love heart... his love for others, his gentle spirit, and his love for the Lord.

Thank you, Grandpa, for being a man of integrity, a man that others could look to as an example of what it meant to be Christ-like. Thank you for raising my dad to be the father I have today. 
Thank you for loving me. 
I know the Heavens rejoiced in your Home-coming and we will see you again one day. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts and we will miss you greatly!
Love you always.

 Grandpa James (Hayes), Grandma Jenny (Parker), My Dad and Me
The boys' first visit to Gma & Gpa's house at 6 weeks old.

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