January 14, 2017 is the day that I will never forget.  Along with November 3, 2009 and October 3, 2016, my family experienced a lost.

But this one was one that will hit me hard.  Harder than I have ever been hit.   In my heart.

My family lost our father, our grandfather, and our great-grandfather.   I lost my mentor.  But I don’t see it as a lost.  I see it as the joy and honor to know the man who taught me so much, and gave so much without expecting anything in return.   You have to earn this man’s trust, and the few times that I felt that I lost that trust, I worked my tail off to gain it back.  Whether it be by making sure I was working hard at my job, keeping a steady job, or being there when he was expecting me to be there for him, whenever I felt that I lost his trust, that was more painful than anything I ever felt in my life.  He would never tell you that he trusts you, you just have to see and feel it for yourself.

I wanted to be like him.  In everything he did.  He gave faithfully to his church.  He gave faithfully to his family.  He gave more faithfully to his wife of 64 years.  Nothing was going to ruin his love for his wife, my grandmother.  Not even the fact that in the end while she was living in a nursing home he did everything he could to be there beside her.    When his oldest son died unexpectedly, I watched him more closely the week of the funeral.  I knew he was hurting, but he never showed it.  He had to be strong for everyone else.   But when he talked about him, in our conversations, you could hear it in his voice.  He missed his son.

The most romantic thing I have ever seen in my life was captured in the final moments with him.   My wife and I had just arrived at the hospital, at the same as my grandmother did.  It was just before 6:00 p.m on January 14.   I pushed my grandmother’s wheelchair right up next to the bed, and she reached for his hands.

Five minutes.

He waited for her.    He wasn’t going without her being there.    It was the symbol of their love.    When it was all said and done,  I wasn’t crying for me, nor for the death of a great man.

I was crying because I just witness what true love was all about.

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” 

                                                                        C.R. Shade   

Love you always Grandpap.