On April 25, 1927, Paul Richard Garrett was born into this world. On February 6, 2010, he went to be with King Jesus. A lot of things happened in his nearly 83 years of life. Most importantly, God saved him out of his sin. But he also married Joan, fathered Deb (and two other children), and became a grandfather to me. He left behind three children, twelve grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Most importantly he left a legacy of love for his family and commitment to Christ. I often think that if my grandparents had not taken my mom to church, where she could hear the Gospel and believe, my life could be very different right now. I do not take that for granted at all. My grandpa was an avid sports fan, enjoyed telling jokes, and loved his church. He was a humble man who cared about people. Even in his final hours he spent much of his time asking about his family members and learning more about their lives. One of my brothers was able to see him on Thursday, and he said that it was evident that he was clinging to Christ as he neared the end. He knew he was going to be with Jesus.
My mom told me that the grief will come in waves. And it has. There are moments where I am living life as normal, and there are moments where I am overcome with sorrow and disbelief that he is really gone. As I have gotten older, I have grown to appreciate the heritage of my family, and I loved being around my grandpa. My parents moved to Florida after my grandma died to be near him, and he became a part of our life as a family. It feels like there is a void now. But I think that is what death is supposed to feel like. Death reminds us that things will never be as they once were. And it is an ugly feeling. As my dad says, “it is unnatural.” This is not how things were supposed to be.
As sorrowful as yesterday morning at church was, I worshipped knowing that my grandpa is worshipping in a way that I cannot even imagine. Our corporate worship was a mere shadow of the pleasure that he is experiencing right now in the presence of his Savior, my Savior. And that is our hope. We will see him again. But more importantly, we will be with our King one day. Even though I knew all of these things, I still wept through singing because I can’t get to him. Not yet, at least.
He will be missed, terribly. He was a good grandpa. There won’t be anymore jokes at family events, there won’t be anymore moments where he tries to slip money into my hands (he was always so generous), there won’t be anymore hugs. But we know our goodbye is not the end. And I praise God that we have hope. One day our faith will be sight. Until then we wait.