Friday, June 06, 2008

With Love For a Good, Good Man

This weekend we travel south for the funeral of a great man. JDub's grandpa passed away Tuesday morning and we will all be gathering together to celebrate his wonderful life and to love and comfort one another.
JDub had the opportunity to go see him and say goodbye on Monday evening. He said it was one of the sweetest, most spiritual experiences he has ever had. I have heard many people say that, as with birth, there is a special spirit around death. Because, like a birth, it is the crossing of a threshold from one life into the next. I am certain that the spirits of those who love us and who have gone before and will come after are present to guide us and comfort us. What a sweet thing it is, this graduation from one part of our existence to another.
So, it is sad for us, but we are so happy for him. His body has been failing him for many years, his mind also. It was difficult to watch his mounting frustration at being unable to work and accomplish things the way he always had. Then, we watched him slip farther away into a confused complacency as he lost touch with time and space and the identities of those around him. I told JDub that I haven't been very sad this week, because I don't think I could miss him more now than I have for quite a while. He hasn't been the grandpa I fell in love with for a few years now.
And speaking of the grandpa I fell in love with, I've been thinking of a few memories I have about him.

  • He was a writer, so we were instant friends on that subject. I remember talking with him about trusting myself as a writer. He told me about how characters would put themselves in his head and he couldn't shake them and how often, once he really knew the characters in his stories, they would simply write the story for him.
  • As for stories, he was also a storyteller. I loved to hear him tell his stories, his voice rising and falling, his eyes twinkling, his face aglow when he knew he had a captive audience. I especially remember one of the first stories he told me about his mission in Brazil when, with his halting German, he tried to tell a family about the end of a movie he'd recently seen. The main character had shot himself to death. Grandpa accidentally told them that he had sh*t himself to death. I can still hear him laughing and see the tears forming in his eyes as re-lived the humor of that moment. Grandpa had a marvelous sense of humor.
  • He was a worker. Until he absolutely, physically could not do it he always had a garden. He grew everything he could, composted, kept his yard neat and clean. I know where my husband gets his work ethic (well, it comes from both sides) and I can definitely see him at 80 working from dawn until dusk and never really "retiring."
  • He was a thoroughly devoted father and husband and treasured his family. Even those of us who came into his family through marriage were made to feel so loved and precious. He was so wonderful to his wife, calling her his queen, his sweetheart, always grateful for the many things she did to make their home heaven and to make life better for him. He had a very tender, loving soul.
  • He was one of those people who know that the joy is in the journey. He knew it. The joy wasn't in the end of the day after the work, or the family reunion after the raising of children. He seemed to always find joy in the doing, in every moment of his life that I witnessed. He was a happy person by choice and such a bright example to me.
So, I will certainly miss Grandpa Knight. The only biological grandpa I ever knew died when I was six years old. So, after I married JDub, I was thrilled to adopt Grandpa Knight as my own. He has been a marvelous blessing in my life and in the lives of my children. I will miss seeing him at family reunions, miss driving to Cedar City to see him and help him work in his garden. I will miss his stories and his smile and his infectious laugh. But I can't mourn too much, because I am happy for him. Glad that he is free of a broken body and with those who love him. I am sure he is already at work, preparing a place for the rest of us to follow him.

1 comment:

The Yarn Queen said...

Very touching. A great tribute to a wonderful man of your family.