My grandpa, Max, passed away about a week ago. We were in Hamilton, Montana this last weekend for the services.
Grandpa was a cowboy. He grew up in the sandhills of Nebraska and for the last two years of his life, that is all he talked about. He so wanted to revisit his past and relive his fondest memories.
The memories he made with his family were highlighted all weekend long. It's a bizarre feeling to know someone your entire life and hear some of the details I heard this weekend for the very first time. He was a strong man. He worked hard at everything he did. He loved Jesus and he studied the Bible more than most. The bible he passed on to my dad was underlined, written in and highlighted the entire way through. It's one of those bibles with a binding so loose that it just falls open when you turn the pages.
Grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years back and I'm not positive how much of his life he remembered toward the end. I believe when he passed away everything came back. Clear as a bell. I have a lot of thoughts and opinions regarding what it looked like when he got to Heaven. I obviously don't know what the check-in process looks like, but thinking about these types of things takes the sting out of death. My dad preached the message at Grandpa's service and he said, "Max is not just in our past, he is in our future."
He will be genuinely missed. I'll think of his brown sweater and worn out-jeans, the smell of the soap he used, and his easy smile. We shared the same birthday and that day will be a little bittersweet in the years to come. I look forward to seeing him again someday. He'll have much to share once again and I'll have an eternity to listen.