Today would have been my Grandpa’s 94th birthday. We lost him back in December after a relatively short illness (though he would tell you it was much too long). But talk about a life well lived.
I was able to get home for his funeral and while it was, of course, terribly sad, the most amazing part was hearing all the stories about him and meeting all the people who he had touched over the years. The visitation at the funeral home was five hours with no breaks in the crowd. So many people stood in a long line just to pay their respects. It was incredibly heartwarming. This was a man who never retired, who was very involved in his church and his community and who touched many lives along the way.
My Grandpa is a big part of the reason I am where I am today. He was an incredibly generous person and did his best to help his grandkids get ahead in life. But he also helped shape who I am today. He definitely led by example. He never knew a stranger. He loved to meet new people and he truly wanted to get to know them. It didn’t matter if this person was a fellow business owner or the nurse at the doctor’s office. He always had time to chat (even if the other person perhaps didn’t).
But while he was incredibly kind and generous, he also held himself and his family to high standards. There were no excuses. There was no slacking off. I don’t mean that he begrudged us sitting on the couch and watching tv, but when it came to our educations, we all knew that he expected the best out of us. And he was so proud of all of us. He liked to say to me “Well, why do you do all those races if you aren’t going to win?” But I think he was not so secretly impressed. Still thought I was a bit crazy, but proud nonetheless.
He was a wonderful man who adored his wife and made sure he lived long enough to see that she was settled and would be taken care of. He was a man of great faith who wasn’t scared of death or what came after. And he spent nearly 94 years on this earth making such a difference in big ways and small.
He will be forever remembered and forever missed.