Sunday, April 28, 2019

Remembering Grandpa (Oh, Cripe!)

This past week has been a blur. I feel like today has been a mirror of Monday and Tuesday when the grief was fresh and unprocessed. Being with my wonderful and loving family all week made me feel insulated from it all. All the love, prayers, fellowship, and other bright spots in the darkness, helped to create a safe place that made it easier to be "strong" and soldier through. However, now that I've come back home and am resuming my daily life, I feel more aware of the fact that my heart hurts. I feel like I just woke up from a very long dream and I'm trying to remember what has happened.

At my Grandpa's funeral, I sang "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again" by Danny Gokey; which had been suggested by Gianna when I was considering song choices. Even now, I feel like it was a God-thing for Him to have stirred her to mention that song because I'm still repeating the lyrics to myself. All who grieve have to take it one day at a time; telling their hearts to beat again. We close our eyes, breathe, and try to leave the sadness in the shadows and step into the light of grace; because we don't live in the closed doors of yesterdays. Life is a continuing journey where we have to move forward and allow the pain, sorrows, and scars shape us rather than break us.

This blog post is as much for my grief-processing as it is for anyone that knew my Grandpa. It is a blessing to me that my family finds comfort in the ways that God enables me to put my heart on paper. Therefore, I'll share the words I submitted for pastor Clark Stoller to read at the funeral so that it's here for people to read. I had also made a brief slideshow of some of the pictures of him that I had (and my cousin, Nikky, made the longer one that was shown at the funeral home):

Ask anyone who knew my Grandpa, and they would likely say that he was a "character". I couldn't agree more and I don't think there's a better word to capture him than that. 

Grandpa was a son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. All of these roles he did well and with that sense of humor that he was known for. We loved his funny and silly ways. Sometimes, you could just see the orneriness in his face during a conversation because you knew he was waiting for the opportunity to interject a goofy comment or something completely random and nonsensical. It was even funnier if Grandma was around because she would often reprimand him and say, "Wayne, cut that out!" However, that usually didn't dissuade him from misbehaving; or even making a silly face at her. That usually earned him the bonus comment of, "you're so childish."

I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing him beyond the "character" that everyone knew, because I don't think many people knew the character behind the character. He didn't usually exhibit any mushy emotions very well; though he didn't mind if people made a fuss over him. He often pretended to escape your affections and would give you an "oh, cripe!"... but he enjoyed every second of it. Grandma always told me that he was her "biggest baby"; and she usually said it with fondness. He loved attention from others; even though he didn't usually reciprocate it in the same ways. Yet, he was still so easy to love because he was entertaining and good company. In that way, he gave as much as he got.  

I'm thankful to have had him in my life as long as I have. I'm blessed to have tons of memories, pictures, and videos with him in it. When you have that, a character never dies. "Boy oh boy...." that humor and personality lives on! We all love him and will miss him so much,...for "criminey sakes". 
Grace and peace to you, my friends! My heart and prayers go out to those of you that might be reading this and are dealing with grief of your own. Don't go it alone! Stay connected with family, friends, and church family that will lift you up (and I also suggest this short and powerful book that I can never recommend often enough!). God bless you all!