You died last night. Unfortunately, because of the time difference in London, I wasn’t told until this morning (although I was actually a bad boy and was still up way past my bedtime. Haha). I’m sorry we didn’t spend more time together. That golfing trip you always wanted to do never happened because you got too old and I never had enough time. I’m sorry I seemed to never have enough time. I’m sorry I didn’t listen more. I wish I had known more about your and grandma’s pasts. Your love story. Your dreams. Stories of fun and stupid “guy things” you did in high school and college (I’m sure there were a few).
I wish I had known more of the terrors you went through when you were my age in World War II. You gave your heart and soul for this country, saw close friends die literally right next to you, so that I and the rest of my generation would live in a world not ruled by Nazi tyranny but a world of freedom and hope, for both today and tomorrow.
I hope you know that I had the utmost respect for you because of this reason.
I never talked to you or asked you about this because of the scars I know you undoubtedly had. I pray in death you find healing for those memories, those aches etched into your mind. You didn’t let what happened on the battlefield stop you from living out on the battlefield of life at home. After all that was said and done, you raised a great family, my dad, and instilled in them the values that are now instilled in me.
Thank you Grandpa. For serving selflessly country and family.
I’m sorry you never got to see my wedding. I know you would have loved to. I know you would have loved to meet the beautiful girl I would marry, whoever she is. You would have been proud. You always had nothing but kind and encouraging words for me. You always dreamed I’d grow up to do great things.
And I will.
You loved me enough to even before my birth, before you knew whether I’d be a “good” kid or “bad” kid, to quit smoking so you could be around me more. And when you were around me, ever since my birth, you were always smiling. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I’m always constantly smiling.
I’m sorry you won’t get to hold your first great grandchild in your arms. I’m sure you would have shown just as much affection towards him or her as you had me. And I’m sure he or she would have loved being around you too.
I’m sorry you died the way you did, but I’m glad you died in peace in the end. I don’t believe this is the last time I’ll see you, rather a transition period, as if a friend were leaving for a far distant country and I wouldn’t hear from him again for a long time.
I’ll come visit that foreign country one day with you.
So instead of making this day a day to mourn our loss of you in this world, I’d rather make it a celebration of your life and moving onto the next.
I don’t know the theology of heaven, how it works, what it entails, what the can and can’ts are – hopefully I’ll get a clearer picture in seminary, though even seminary can only attempt to understand heaven by the smallest of means – but I hope you’re looking down on us. And when you look down, at the end of the day, you are proud, of me, of Sarah and Curt, of Kim and Jim, and of Dad and Uncle Jim.
Thank you for your endless support.
Thank you for your infinite encouragement.
Thank you for your genes that gave me such a great mind (and rather bushy eyebrows at that. Haha).
Thank you for defending my unmerited freedom.
Thank you for your unconditional love.
I loved you Grandpa. I will miss you dearly here on this earth in the years ahead.
Your First Grandson,