Friday, December 25, 2015

a Christmas feast for the birds and a recipe for Heaven

There is no way to know what it's like until you've been through it.  Grief is not for the faint of heart.

I feel like the last seven months have been a blur since having lost my grandfather.  He was a million things to so many.  A husband.  A war hero.  A father.  A brother.  An entrepreneur.  A son. A Godly man like no one else I know.  He was one of my best friends and he was really like my second dad.

Until I was nearly in high school, we shared a home with Popie and Ma, and what we shared was different than what grandchildren who periodically see their grandparents share.  As far as I can remember, we have shared everything about life - tears, meals, lots of laughter and hugs... He meant the world to me, and I'm not quite sure what to do without him.

Our family is still reeling from the loss.  Ma is lost without her husband of nearly 69 years.  Mom is overwhelmed with sadness of not having her dad with her.  My father is deeply affected by the loss of his best friend of 43 years.  As those who have grieved loved ones know, all of the "firsts" are painful and confusing.  No one knows the "right" thing to do during holidays or birthdays. What to say, how to act, how to celebrate...  We have leaned heavily on God's direction over the last several weeks.

Today, as we tried to carry on our usual traditions of the Christmas season, we began the day, with Popie, visiting his grave.  We celebrated him and his love of birds by putting out a Christmas feast for them in his honor.  Watching our boys hang strings of fresh cranberries and a birdseed bell in the tree by his plot was both fitting and emotional... sweet, yet surreal.  I watched and took pictures, knowing what we were doing and why, and yet as drove back to my parents' house and walked in to begin opening gifts, I thought for sure Popie would walk in the room at any moment or that I would hear his voice down the hall.  If only I could hear his voice, one more time.

There is not a doubt in my mind that Popie is full of joy, singing with the angels in that beautiful bass that I so dearly loved to hear.  He is rejoicing and living the reward that he chose to claim years ago.  He knew the recipe for Heaven and followed it without fail.

Love the Lord with all your heart.  Love others as yourself.  Worship in truth.  Walk humbly and love mercy.  Live at peace with everyone.  Sacrifice.  

These are but a few things I watched Popie live out, daily, for 90 years.  It's why letting go is so hard. Others were drawn to him, because Popies like mine are just few and far between.

Yes, I am sad.  The sadness is huge and overwhelming at times.  But I am also full of joy, because my name is written in Heaven, just like Popie's.  I know I will be with him again, and I know that day will be glorious.  Jesus came to this earth, in the flesh, and became the one, true sacrifice, to bring us this hope.  This life is not all there is.  The story does not end here.  Popie's story is eternal, and ~ praise God ~ ours can be too. All things are ready, dear friends; come to the feast.  

Oh... and the seat next to Popie?  It's taken

Merry Christmas to all,