I wrote this post about a month ago and just haven’t posted it. I’m not sure why but here it is now.
Like the blink of an eye or a flower that blooms and withers…such is our life.
Life is so short, yet we live like we will be here forever. I’m speaking of myself here too.
I’ve never watched someone die before April 21, 2012. Oh, many relatives have passed before me…all four of my own grandparents have gone on to the next life but I wasn’t there as they were dying. I wasn’t even in the same state. I mourned and I missed them but I didn’t live beside them in their deaths.
But this time was different. Noy’s grandfather treated me like his own granddaughter for 20 years. I never felt judged or not part of the family with him. He always spoke with kindness to me and listened to my story and then I would listen, for what seemed like hours, to his. Most of the stories included his grandson, my husband. It was obvious Noy was the apple of his eye. Grandad lived a life of utmost Character and he loved his Lord and made sure everyone knew that. He was an important man that changed many lives. Lives that are still better because of him even now. He did many good deeds for others and never wavered in his walk with God.
He has had Alzheimer’s for a couple of years now and had developed cancer and each time the family was together we all wondered if it would be the last. But God granted us one of the most special gifts of my life to date. He allowed our family to be with Grandad the last two weeks of his life. Some of us went to dinner one Thursday and as we were leaving, he looked at me and waved his cane and said, “I’ll see ya’ll later Sis.” Sis is his name for all the female family members. I wondered then, if I really would see him later but didn’t dwell on it long. Life is so distracting.
We never did see him conscious again. We came over his daughter’s house when called less than a week later because he wasn’t doing well. Our entire family and other family members sat by his side Thursday night and all day Friday. We went home Friday night knowing he would be gone by morning but he was still breathing when we came Saturday morning…shallow and each breath a struggle.
Saturday morning, we all gathered on the bed and said our last goodbyes. His son prayed over him and we prayed in response. Noy reminded him of special memories they shared and promises he made to his grandfather, that he would always walk with the Lord. Amazingly, tears began falling from Grandad’s eyes while we prayed. We knew he could hear us and would be going home to meet his Savior at any moment. God gave us the blessing of witnessing Grandad’s last breath. We cried and sat in awe but knew he was free from his suffering was standing before his true Father. The One, True Father.
I left that moment realizing how utterly short life really is.
The next day I read a scripture that summed of exactly what I felt that experience taught me
Ecclesiastes 11 and 12 (The Message):
7-8 Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour,
Remembering that there will also be many dark days
And that most of what comes your way is smoke.
9 You who are young, make the most of your youth.
Relish your youthful vigor.
Follow the impulses of your heart.
If something looks good to you, pursue it.
But know also that not just anything goes;
You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.
10 Live footloose and fancy-free—
You won’t be young forever.
Youth lasts about as long as smoke.
Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young,
Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes,
Before your vision dims and the world blurs
And the winter years keep you close to the fire.
3-5 In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.
Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.
The shades are pulled down on the world.
You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt.
The hum of the household fades away.
You are wakened now by bird-song.
Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.
Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.
Your hair turns apple-blossom white,
Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body.
Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest,
While your friends make plans for your funeral.
6-7 Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.
Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.
The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.
8 It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.
The Quester says that everything’s smoke.
The Final Word
11 The words of the wise prod us to live well.
They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.
They are given by God, the one Shepherd.
12-13 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this:
Fear God. Do what he tells you.
14 And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.
The words “honor and enjoy your creator while you are still young” really struck a chord with me. We have but a short time on this earth; may I never take a single day for granted and may I live a God fearing life from now to until my death. And I pray that I would be privileged enough to be surrounded by my family and that above anything else said about me, that I loved my Lord and my family. Thank you Grandad for setting a beautiful example of Christ to your family.
Noy and his grandparents took many trips from Texas to Colorado when he was a child. Here are some scenes we captured on our way to Texas for his grandfather’s funeral.