Monday, August 17, 2009

Pop-Pop the Great

Ten days ago tomorrow that my mom called us at 12:15 am to tell us to pray for my pop-pop ~ that he had collapsed and the ambulance was on the way to my grandparents' house. Unfortunately, my pop-pop passed away that morning from a heart attack.

He was 84 years old.

When I tell people that this happened, I feel the need to explain a little about the relationship we had with this special man. I think people who didn't know him think he was one of those grandfathers who we saw but once a year at the holidays. That he must have been sickly since he was so old. That he must not have known his grandchildren and great-grandchildren very well.
That couldn't be farther from the truth.

My pop-pop was the healthiest, most active, energetic 84 year old you'd ever see.

He took care of my grandmom, their home, their pool, and their 1 acre property faithfully.

He volunteered his time and talents with Bible school, the Veteran's Museum, the Veteran's Association, and the Republican Party.

He attended every family birthday party and gathering for all 3 of his children and their spouses, all 8 of his grandchildren and their spouses, and all 10 of his great-grandchildren.

He played and swam with my boys, and ran circles around me.

My boys called him pop-pop the great, or pop-pop with the pool :)
We saw him a few times a month.

He was cutting up a fallen tree in his backyard the Wednesday before he died.

I miss him terribly.

We had his viewing and memorial service last Thursday and I had the privilege of reading Psalm 91 ~ one of his favorite passages....the one his mother wrote to him when he was in WWII. And then, there was an opportunity to share memories and I wrote this:

"As I've reflected on my pop-pop's life and legacy this past week, I've thought a lot about how he lived his life. And I believe, that above all, he lived intentionally.

He granted my grandmom's every wish with the intention of serving his wife.

He volunteered to help with Bible school each year with the intention of serving God and perhaps mentoring some of the young people who volunteered to help.

He enlisted in the US Marine Corp with the intention of defending the cause of freedom for future generations.

He volunteered at the Veteran's Museum with the intention of upholding the memory of the cost of our freedom.

He gave of his time, energy, and money with the intention of helping others.

He played with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren with the intention of having fun and building relationships.

He imparted his love for cars and trains with the intention of sharing his interests.

He was an original scrapbooker with the intention of keeping memories alive for future family members to know and learn and understand their rich heritage.

He asked questions and genuinely listened to the answers with the intention of putting others first.

He attended every family event and gathering with the intention of conveying the importance and value of family.

He encouraged, supported, and rooted for each one of us with the intention of building us up.

He prayed with the intention of giving God control of his life and the lives of those he lifted in prayer.

He loved and served the Lord through his actions and interactions with everyone he met with the intention of glorifying God.

My pop-pop lived intentionally and he will be missed tremendously. I know he's in the Lord's presence and someday we'll see him again. I can almost see him ducking his head down and saying what he always said when we left his house ~ "Bye, now."

In other words, see you soon.

I look forward to the day we meet again in heaven and I hear his sweet voice say, "Hey, Amy~how're you doing, hon?"

In the meantime, I hope I can honor his life and his memory by choosing to live intentionally myself. I love you, pop-pop. I pray that you knew just how much."

The service concluded with a 21 gun salute on the front lawn of the church. And wouldn't you know, even though it had been pouring rain, it stopped and the sun came out for that. He would have been so proud.

On Friday, my pop-pop was buried with honor at the Indiantown Gap Veteran's Cemetary.

I still can't believe he's gone.


Kim said...

Amy, the words you wrote and spoke at the funeral are beautiful. I also hope I can honor his legacy by living life intentionally and serving others whole-heartedly! I still can't believe he is gone either...The impact he had on people is profound, and I was truly blessed to have known him the past 3 years. He will be missed very, very much.

Kristin said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Amy.
I think there is something special about men that grew up in that era. We just celebrated Matt's grandfather's 90th birthday so I get what you mean about being in good health in your 80's. I truly believe that it has a lot to do with their faith and their perspective on life. It really does make me think about how I want to spend my time here.
We will say a prayer for your family.

Mama Abby said...

So sorry for your loss...I know what it can be to lose someone like Mor Mor is 96 and I will be so sad when she goes and I don't see her nearly as much as you did...less now in Florida. Your Pop Pop was a part of the greatest generation and it certainly seems he represented it well. I'll be praying as I remember you in this time...

Melissa~ said...

Amy, what a beautiful tribute you wrote. It brought tears to my eyes and made me feel as if I knew him. What a wonderful man. I'm so sorry for your loss and I will lift you up in prayer today for comfort and peace.

Love you!


"And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master's word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind.

In actual fact, they'll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God's trumpet blast! He'll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they'll go first.

Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master.

Oh, we'll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master.

So reassure one another with these words." -1 Thess 4:15-18 (msg)