Far, Far Better Things

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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.


8 thoughts on “Far, Far Better Things

  1. Tears in my eyes. Wish I’d had a chance to meet him. He sounds amazing. I am thankful this morning for my own parents/in-laws as they are building relationships with my kids. Not every grandparent leaves a legacy of love, but yours sure did.

    • Hugs to you as you remember your dear Grandpa, and feel around in the hole that his passing has left. Hold on to those sweet memories. Praise God you will meet again!

  2. He was everything a Grandpa should be and more. How lucky are we! Gosh, it hurts to not have gotten to say goodbye, give a last hug and I love you. Still, how awesome that he was able to escape pain, sickness, and trauma in death. What a rare gift. To think of him getting to be in Glory for Easter with his parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers, friends, but mostly his Savior. What a reunion! I totally relate in that I too find myself clinging to every memory. Replaying the sound of his voice, his scent, his words, his hands. Trying to get more time with him. Boy, is he missed. I love that you pulled out the “Last Battle.” I found myself reading through his McDonald quotes on God. He would love that he left us this connection through books.

  3. If you read my condolence note on the funeral home site, Becca, you will know how we first knew you at about your age 2, and now I know Cruz and London as part of a precious family circle that your the death of your precious Grandpa has temporarily broken until we are reunited with him, my wife Dorcas, and our common Savior in heaven. Ann forwarded all tributes to me and I so appreciate what all grandchildren wrote and your posted picture reminds of the myriad of laughs we shared in what, for now, must be a veil of tears. I will now follow your life as I previously followed Matt’s depictions of life here and hereafter. I hope we all can gather around Grandmother Ruth, a rib from his side in the finest sense, who helped us all give Dave a good ribbing, stimulating the smile we all loved. To the extent possible from our home in Beijing, China, I want to stay in touch with the family circle.
    Dr.Kenneth A. Retzer

    • Dr. Retzer,
      I can’t thank you enough for your post! I remember visiting you and Dorcas when I was little. Ann and I were talking about what a large and global family Grandma and Grandpa have– they are my greatest example of storing up treasures in Heaven.
      Peace and blessings,

  4. This is beautiful. Makes me wish I knew your Grandpa too. What a special treasure he must have been in your life. Thank you for sharing your works with us, Becca. Can’t wait to meet him in Heaven one day.

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