Opa is gone.
And while that hurts for us here, we know he is in a much better place. I've spent most of my time today looking back. Back at the life that he lived and my memories of him.
My grandfather is a very special man.
I don't think any words that I can write here will be able to describe him - who he was and what he did.
But I'm going to try.
He was very generous. If you had a need, he would fill it.
Mission trip? He'd sponser it. Your first car? $100 to say congratulations. Hungry? Food for you. He gave more than any of us will ever know. But I know this. He's helped a lot of families in a lot of ways.
He was stubborn. I see that of him in me sometimes and I wonder if its good. For him it was. It was what drove him to get a lot of things done.
He was cheerful. Whenever you walked in the door and when you left again, there would be a great big hug and kiss. And a cheerful smile. I'll never forget walking into his house every other Sunday, giving him a hug an hearing his "how are you girl?"
He was loving. He loved my grandmother so much - I don't know how she is going to live without him! But he loved all of us too.
He was a Christian. He loved the Lord and was not afraid to tell it. I saw a post on facebook the other day from someone he had told about Jesus. A nephew visited while I was there a few days ago telling about how he would share with him the gospel. His greatest desire in life was that everyone would know Jesus. Not just know about Jesus, but know Jesus.
He was a family man. He loved to be surrounded by all his family - and there is a lot of them! 10 children, 50 something grandchildren, I'm not even sure how many great grandchildren.
He was fiercly protective of us. I can remember the first Sunday that I brought Mike home with me to his house and he gave Mike a firm handshake, looked him in the eye, and said "You take good care of her! If you don't you'll have to answer to me!"
He loved to listen.
We would sit on Sunday after church and he would sit there, revelling in all of his family around him, listening to all of their conversations.
He was a hard worker. He's designed and built more houses and churches and steeples than I can count. He loved to be busy with his hand. Just the other day - probably not even a week ago - he insisted on going to the shop to get some wood for a ramp so he could go outside in his wheelchair. He loved to work with his hands and make things. As I was visiting them this past week, Oma was commenting on how much she loved his hands. As we looked, we could see that they were quite beaten up - wrinkly, dents in them, some skin cancer, blisters, callouses - you name it!
He loved Florida. Many a family has very happy memories of their time there with him, fishing, eating, walking, etc.
He loved to laugh. I'll never forget at our engagement party. He had given us a griddle and with a smile on his face he said, "If this doesn't work out between you too, I want that griddle back. I need a new one."
And so, with his passing, we say goodbye.
You were loved!
We will miss you - all the things that we love about you - we will miss!
Until we meet again, in heaven,