It’s been a few hours since we learned of your passing. Suddenly. Out of the blue. I know that in the days to come a lot of great things will be said and written about you, far better than what I can write here. After all, you were a lifelong scholar, a professor emeritus, faithful husband, devoted father. But I have been craving every last detail of you, I can’t bear to forget anything. So rough words, scratchy throat, red eyes, and hands typing out my memories.
You taught me to read poetry and every time I read to my kids, I hear your voice. One of the first things I did after I got the phone call was pick up The Last Battle, because you taught me that there was comfort in words. You were one of the greatest men on earth, and also you wore a short-sleeved button-up shirt every day (you’d probably tell me that’s why you were great– less time spent on clothes, more time spent thinking). You loved milkshakes and fried mush and pie. You really loved pie. You taught me the importance of history. You grew out your beard so that you could play Abe Lincoln. You took me out for hotdogs after trips to the museum. You always kept a pen and a pad of paper in your shirt pocket, and I doubt that I’m the only grandchild that tried to steal it. Thank you for your ending patience and good humor with us. When I went with you and Grandma to church, she’d hand me a peppermint from deep in her purse. We’d stand and I’d hear Grandma singing. You never sang but I’d like to think that you’re singing now. (I also know the exact joke you’d make right here, because, you know, Grandpa Humor)
But as much as I miss you, Grandpa. As much as tears have leaked out of the corners of my eyes since I woke up this morning, I have my eyes on the prize. You have walked with Jesus every day that I have known you. You have given our family a rich legacy of faith. You are with Him this morning and you are rejoicing, maybe even dancing. My favorite quote from Aslan is true for you today:
You were a giant among men. You were the best. I can’t wait to see you again. I love you so much, Grandpa.