Friday, January 9, 2015

My Grandpa

"Come soon, Lord Jesus" were the ending words of  EVERY prayer my Grandpa Miller (my Mom's Dad) ever prayed.  As long as I can remember, he was living with eternity in view, looking forward to meeting his Savior.  His wait is over, as he is dancing on streets of gold now.  Praising and glorifying the One who gave him so much life!

A life to live.  Live he did.  To it's fullest!   I have never met a more sacrificial, encouraging and loving man than my Grandpa.  He was the first to tell you what a wonderful job you did with a hearty "Congratulations!"

He gave the longest, most generous hugs saying more than words could ever express.  "I love you, Jesus loves you, I'm so proud of you, I'm praying for you."

Him and Grandma are true examples to all of us of what living for the Lord really looks like.  They did more than talk the talk.  They walked it.  Even when the going was tough.  When they had little, when they had plenty.  No matter the circumstances, they were content because they trusted the One who was in control.

I have never experienced someone leaving this earth in the way I did Wednesday night.  As I watched him peacefully enter into Glory, so many emotions were racing through my mind. 

Most of all thankfulness:

Thankful that he was not experiencing any pain

Thankful that he was surrounded by those he loved, and that loved him

Thankful for my grandma's example of a loving, serving wife.  She was living out her "I will...until death do us part."  Right before his last breath, she said "I am ok with letting him go, I just don't want him to experience any pain."  A selfless, loving, servant's heart by his side until his time on earth was done.

Thankful for the legacy and heritage he leaves, as family members and friends flooded his bedside for those short passing hours.

Thankful for his children who surrounded him, letting him know "It's ok to go, Dad.  We will take care of mom.  You can go."  It was as if that was all he needed to hear, because it felt at that very moment that his spirit left.  He had breathed his last breath here on earth and was ready to meet his Savior.  What a glorious homecoming I bet that was.  I'm sure he was greeted with: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Thankful for God's mercy in letting him peacefully enter Heaven.  So many people experience such a long road with loved ones as they are passing on.  It was not the case with him.  God was so gracious to allow it to be so quick and peacful.

Thankful that we know it will not be the last time we see him.  That we will have a glorious reunion with him someday!

I am so honored and blessed to be a part of this man's heritage.  I am proud and humbled to have known and loved this wonderful servant of God.  I have so many memories I will cherish forever. 

Some of my favorites:
  • Taking me on my first snow skiing adventure.  He was the most patient teacher
  • Playing happy birthday on the harmonica at all of our birthday parties
  • His constant words of encouragement
  • His love and appreciation for any music I played or sang
  • Sleepovers at their house
  • Sharing a glass of chocolate milk with him
  • Working in their garden and yard with him
  • Coming to Spokane to visit us in the hospital to meet his great-granddaughter Kayla
  • His hugs.  There was nothing like them.
  • His zest for learning
  • Spending time at their home, cleaning for them.  These were the ordinary, precious moments I was able to share with them.  I started when Kayla was very young and went monthly.  It was so neat to not only have that time with them, but to have Kayla and Audrey interact with them as well. 
  • Watching him hold Kayla and Audrey's hands as we prayed for the meals we shared together on those "cleaning" days.
  • His eternal optimism
  • Visiting him in their "new" apartment in town.  I cherish so many memories of just stopping in to visit in the last few months.  He lit up when Kayla walked in the room. 
  • His love and thankfulness for life.  It was never old or mundane.  He had a truly thankful heart.
I wrote this poem for him on his 90th birthday last March.  The picture is of us on his day of celebration. 

A Tribute to 90 Years

90 Years of life,
with a beautiful woman by his side.
A life of love and blessings.

 Four Children, Twelve Grandchildren
Twenty-five Great-Grandchildren
A life of love and grace.

 A strong and gentle man,
Ready for life’s battles.
A life of passion and endurance.

 A student of all things,
Never too old to learn.
A life of inquiry and wisdom.

 A man of God, pursuing Him.
Praying continually for family and friends.
A life of dedication and integrity.

Thank you for the gift of life and love
You share with all of us.
A life full, a life worth celebrating!

We will celebrate his life and lay his body to rest this Monday.  Grandma has asked that Mom and I play our "Hallelujah Chorus" 4 hands piano piece.  My grandpa had such an appreciation for music.  Sometimes I think he came to church just so he could worship the Lord through my mom's piano playing.  Each Sunday he told her how beautiful her music was.  He especially loved this piece.  I played through it last night and could barely get through it as my eyes welled up with tears.
Tears not because I am sad for him at all.  He is in Heaven.  Rejoicing with Jesus.  Tears because for the first time I could picture someone I knew and loved standing before their Lord, singing:
"Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;

And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords

And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,

 Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
 King of kings! and Lord of lords!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"

Tears because selfishly we will miss this tender-hearted man with a smile like no other.  Tears because we will miss not having his prayers.  Tears because he leaves a "Husband/Dad/Grandpa/Great-Grandpa/Friend" sized hole in our hearts. 

Yet tears of joy because he pain-free, worshipping his "King of kings"


I love you so much Grandpa.  Thank you for all you have done for us.  Thank you for your inspiration.  Thank you for your love and commitment to our Lord!

Most of the family at Grandpa's 90th last March (2014)