Saturday, February 4, 2012

To Honor A Life

On Tuesday this week, physical and tangible life came to an end for the great grandfather of my children. It is the only great grandfather they have known. At 95 years of age, he and his wife would have celebrated 75 years of marriage, in June. I can't begin to imagine her without him. I've seen them live the commitment of their vows, made before God, so long ago.

My husband's grandfather, on his dad's side, was a hard working man who upheld integrity and honesty. He was a business owner. I have been told that he provided outstanding customer service in the days when gas stations were "service stations". I remember him saying that a time came in our culture when his employees no longer had work ethic. My husband has fond memories of life that revolved around Papa's work.

Though it has been several years since our family has had the opportunity to make the 12 hour trip to visit him, hug him, talk to him, still I can see his smile and hear his laugh. Life just has a way of preventing some of the things that we long for. There are times when the right thing to do isn't the easy or fun thing, so it was with agony that we made the decision for Philip to go alone to pay his last respects to his grandfather. I'm so glad Philip could go.

There is an unspoken language to life. It is sensed and felt and seen with our heart and emotions. We may even hear it, but it is a language interpreted through the filter of our individual life experiences and personal perspectives, making it a different language to each person. I wanted to wrap my arms around grandma and absorb some of who she is, absorb some of her character and commitment to the man she has loved all these years. I wanted to sense the unspoken language, spoken to me, in this situation of life.

So as Philip drove away in the chilly darkness yesterday morning to make the 12 hour drive alone, I wanted to sob, and sob some more. I couldn't talk. I wasn't ready for it to be like this. We have committed to experience life together...the ups and downs...and now life was separating us in this. Our family couldn't...shouldn't go.

On many occasions when our children leave to go out to do something, I say to them, "Remember who you are. Your daddy has given you a good name. You want to always live up to the honor of it." Today, as family is gathered so many miles away to honor Papa, I am reminding our children that their good name has come from their dad and his dad and his dad, Papa. Their name has passed down through the generations and they can be proud. It's not a name to which they hang their head in shame when someone finds out who they belong too.

One moment, one action, can change the course of life forever. I am grateful for the choices Papa and Grandma made that are benefits to me and my family today. I didn't get to hug Grandma, or say a final goodbye, so to speak, to Papa, but I know that when my husband returns early in the morning, I will hug him and absorb some of the integrity and commitment of his grandparents. Part of them, lives in him.

His legacy lives on...

Thank you Papa. I will see you again.

Floyd William Going
August 30, 1916 - January 31, 2012


esther said...

A beautiful memorial to a wonderful man. I'm so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family.

Keith said...

Very nice, Rachel

donnie said...

A beautiful tribute to a man so special to you. My heart hurts for your loss. God blesses us with the memories we can carry with us.