Last Wednesday, February 15, 2012, my grandfather, Claude Lewis (Grandpa), passed away. I always wonder how I will react emotionally to these kind of things.
My mom’s father, Ralph Starling passed away in July of 2008, just days after my daughter was born and around the same time my good friend, Don Everroad passed away from cancer. Don was a founding member of the Sunrise Church of Christ, my first church plant in Grand Prairie, TX. Don was a hard worker, faithful, and loyal. I spent almost every Sunday for more than three years unloading a trailer and setting up a school cafeteria or daycare for Sunday worship with Don and his wife, Pat. He was usually the first one to arrive and always the last one to leave, following me back to my house to unload the sound system. I loved the Everroads and even though Don was part of my parent’s generation, I considered him a good friend. I had the privilege of being with Don when he passed from this life to go be with the Lord and the honor of speaking at his graveside and memorial services. Because Don had cancer and we had some time to anticipate his passing, I had some time to think about how I would handle it emotionally. I thought I would cry like a baby, after all I spent time with Don every week. When he finally passed away, I was very sad, but I never cried. I don’t know why.
Since Don and my grandfather, who we affectionately called Grand LaLa, were declining in health around the same time, I took time to consider how I would react emotionally to his passing as well. I had a good relationship with LaLa. I always got the sense that he was proud of me. It was a good relationship, but not one that I would consider close. Growing up, we always lived a couple hours drive from each other. I saw he and my grandmother (GiGi) often, but nothing like I did with Don every week. I figured I would be very sad when LaLa passed away, but I didn’t anticipate that I would cry like a baby. I had the special privilege of speaking at LaLa’s memorial service as well. As weird as it may sound, it was one of the most fun and memorable sermons I have ever preached. When he finally passed away, I cried a lot. It surprised me.
Grandpa and I never lived closer than a six hour drive from each other, and sometimes farther than that. I also had a good relationship with him but also not one that I would call close. I’m not sure how you could have a close relationship when you are one of 19 grandchildren and live half a days drive away. I always thought Grandpa was proud of me as well. Even though his health was declining over the past several months, I didn’t anticipate the nose dive it took there at the end. He had some strokes and lost some of his ability to speak and move around. When it became apparent that he had only days to live the emotions really hit me and I had a real good cry.
I guess there is something special about family. There is something significant about blood. Even though we weren’t close, there is something about my Grandpa that really touches my heart. More to come…