When I was a child, I had more grandmothers than I could count—grandmothers and step-grandmothers and great-grandmothers, all beloved—
but only one Grandpa.
Grandpa was from Minnesota—a tough cookie, hardly sick a day in his life. He loved snow and popcorn and apple cider and northern lakes.
He could tell stories that left us in stitches, praying for breath. Like the one about his first date, when a prankster friend put a hunk of Limburger cheese on his radiator. Like the one about his snazzy new yellow car and the neighbor dog who kept coming over to pee on the tires, until Grandpa pinched a 110-volt wire in the car door and the whole thing went live.
He’d been a rebel teen who headed for the back forty whenever the preacher came around. But when he found Jesus he never looked back. Powerful revivalist, staunch premillenialist, he was a black-and-whiter, firm in his faith and sure of what he believed.
I had only one Grandpa.
Two weeks ago, I packed up some of his favorite things—fishing tackle, fresh baked cookies, apple cider, and a tin of popcorn—and headed for a park with my family.
When I spent his funeral numb, I thought that someday, when I could feel again, I would bury something—maybe get a box and pack it with some symbols: a fishing bobber, a photograph, a whoopie pie—and bury it in a hole in the ground. When I was ready.
Then I thought Grandpa would never like that. Bad waste of a good whoopie pie.
So I spent time talking and eating and fishing with my family, and we remembered him. This was the way I wanted to say goodbye, because I could not say it when the time was right.
To those who wondered if I was finding fault with the church that hosted the funeral, I can only say how sorry I am for the misunderstanding. I hate saying things wrong.
I’ve never seen a congregation so devoted to a very old man… the care and honor they gave him was beyond praiseworthy. I wrote of my own numbness and pain. There are many times in my life when I long for Presence and cannot find it.
After supper we remembered what we loved about Grandpa. Some of us wrote it on helium balloons–
and then a child counted to three
and we let them go.