It is better to have loved and to have lost and to remember than to never have loved or to have forgotten.
Three years ago today, my Granddaddy got all of his questions answered. He saw his Savior face to face and stepped into eternity where he’d never have another migraine. Today, I’m remembering him, not because I feel like I need to continue grieving but because not remembering is like losing him all over again.
My grandma has told me a story from when I was about two. Grandma and Granddaddy were visiting us. At dinner, while I sat next to him, she says that I reached out to hold his hand at some point during the meal. It meant that I had to use my left hand to eat (not the dominant one), but apparently, I didn’t care. I was just happy to sit next to him and hold his hand.
One of the main things I remember my Granddaddy doing is pausing before he spoke. I can see him now, sitting at the head of the table at dinner while my family eats something incredible that my grandma has made. I can hear my dad saying something about an issue in the church or government; it’s something that goes straight over my head. My Granddaddy listens while my dad talks. He has about six vitamins on the placemat in front of him. He’s probably wearing a long-sleeved Texans Longhorns shirt, or a striped shirt. He has a perpetually thoughtful look on his face during this conversation. It’s not an act, because he is the most thoughtful person I’ve ever known.
My dad finishes a thought, and Granddaddy pauses. He takes a breath and asks a clarifying question. Then wisdom just pours out of his mouth. And it’s the result of years of seeking God. It’s a product of digesting all those books that are shelved unconventionally in his study. It’s a result of being a lifelong learner.
Granddaddy, because I miss you, I will think before I speak. I will digest Augustine’s Confessions as I read it for my class today. I’ll seek wisdom from God because you showed me what that looked like.
The only time I can remember thinking that my Granddaddy was fragile was in early elementary school. He used to take my sister and me fishing at the pond by their house when we went to visit them in Texas, usually in the spring or summer. The pond drained under the road and on the other side was a little creek. There was a water wheel there and a playground with an old-fashioned merry-go-round and a basketball court where we used to play basketball on rollerblades.
One day I think Brooke or I or one of our cousins had accidentally gotten a ball in the creek. Or for some reason there was a need for someone to cross it. Granddaddy was filling that need when he slipped and fell.
I remember that being so dissonant with how I thought of him. So strange that he would be bruised. I’m pretty sure I thought he was immortal because I loved him. Because anything you love surely can’t leave.
Granddaddy, I miss you so much. And because I miss you, I will remember that the people in my life and the opportunities aren’t eternal, that I need to love while it’s still today. That I need to live in wisdom, derived from a close walk with God for all the days of my life. I want to live like you did.
I’m so grateful for that legacy. I’m so grateful to have memories of sitting in my Granddaddy’s office with him, hearing about his life.
Even more than that, I’m thankful that some day I can sit before the throne of God with him.
“I remember my affliction and my wandering,
The bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
And my soul is downcast within me.
Yet, this I recall to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul.
‘Therefore I will hope in Him.’
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good to wait quietly on the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.”