Monday, April 30, 2012

He Made It.

I'll be there.  He promised.  He had thirteen grandchildren and was going to make it to each of our high school graduations.  Some people set goals of running a marathon.  Or reading a book list.  Or saving up for a house.  Personal and somewhat selfish goals.

My Grandpa's goal was focused on his grand-kids.  A statement of his commitment to us.  An example of how proud he was to be our Grandpa.

I had begged God to let him live to fulfill that last wish.  But he didn't make it to my little brother's... the youngest Grandchild.  He died at the beginning of his senior year.

The pain of having to say goodbye to someone you love never goes away. Not a goodbye, see ya later. But a Goodbye. With a capital "G".  The kind that is forever - until heaven.

I was reminded last night of my last moments with my Grandpa.  My dad called me and told me this was it.  He asked if I wanted to talk to him.  He couldn't talk back, but I could ramble endless amounts of babble into his ear if I wanted.

Talk to him?  What do you say to someone when you know it's your last chance to talk to them on Earth?

"I love you" doesn't seem enough.

My dad has the phone to my Grandpa's ear.  I can tell from the heavy breathing and otherwise deafening silence.

Grandpa?  I manage to get that out.  I just want you to know that I love you.  I'm so proud to be your granddaughter.  I'm his favorite - he's told me.   That you are my hero.

Except I never got to finish.  In the middle of my sentence, I hear my dad on the phone.  I'm angry.  Upset that my dad got to hear the last words meant for my Grandpa and I break down in serious ugly cries.

I'm not ready, dad.  I wasn't finished.   My dad reassures me that Grandpa heard me.  That he laid his hand over his heart and tapped it a few times as if to gesture the endless amount of love he felt for me.

And then we hang up.  And I wrestle on the floor of my room - 1,500 miles away - with the closing of a chapter.  It feels too final.  Too finished.

I never got to go to the funeral and wondered if my goodbyes said on the phone were enough.  But, somehow writing this (with tears streaming down in the middle of this crowded Starbucks) makes me feel closer to him.  Like the punches of the keyboard are going straight to heaven.  And I'm able to immortalize him for one last time.

My Grandpa loved purple martins.  He put up houses for them in his front yard - homes for these beautiful creatures that come to stay in the summer time.  After my dad put up a house in our own yard, they became the source of most conversations on the phone.

Any Martin's yet?  My Grandpa would ask.  And there never were.  They'll come.  They'll come.  He would reassure us.

And come they did.  Every single summer since he died.

I remember when I saw my first one apart from the floods that came to my Grandpa's house.

We were hot and sticking to our chairs listening to name after name be read over the loudspeaker.  I was in a bored trance until the list of names started to reach the letter "M" for Murphy.  It was almost my brother's turn to cross over the stage that makes you into an adult when my mom gasped.  My dad pointed and we see a beautiful purple martin gliding down low.  Right across the sea of graduating seniors.

 My Grandpa made it.



  1. Wow!!! You, sweet girl, are such the writer.
    What a special man you loved and were blessed to have had him so long.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing Rebecca. It made me remember the special bond I had with my own grandpa and how he hung in there to live long enough to hear that I had my first child. He only got to see a picture, but he made it too :). Thank you.

    1. OH, I'm so glad he got to see a picture! What a blessing.

  3. Just more proof of God's love for you. I was extremely close with my Grandfather too, and our time was too short. Thank you for opening your heart to write such poignant words.

    1. Thank you. I just spent some time checking out your blog. You are one stylish momma! Cute!

  4. Oh my gosh, I cried!!! I had a similar experience with my Grandma and butterflies. Isn't it amazing how powerful God is?! What a wonderful feeling!

  5. I cried right along with you reading this. What a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father at your brother's graduation!

  6. That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Rebecca, that was beautiful! Very touching- thank you for sharing your heart!

  8. The last picture was amazing. He made it. Rejoice!
    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  9. {{LOVE you}} thank you for sharing. i too had a very hard time letting my grandpa go. he was a big strong prison guard & farmer until 2 years before he died. with declining health due to dementia & alzheimer's my dad protected us children from seeing him the last several months of his life. i hold tight onto the memories of that sweet man. his big hands, those large friendly eyes. his love for God's creatures. for creation. hold vast those memories sweet friend -- for you will be with him in heaven someday.


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