(This is what I said at my Grandpa's memorial service. Some of it you have heard before, but all of it deserves to be repeated.)
|Grandpa surprising his grandkids in the middle of the night with a serenade. Boxers and all.
Growing up, I always thought that I might be the luckiest kid in the world to have the grandparents that I did.
Now that I'm all grown up, I know that I am. That we are.
Grandpa was an amazing man, unlike any other, and each of you here are a testimony to that. You knew him as pastor, father, friend, uncle, brother, coach and mentor. But I would argue that the eight of us got him at his very best. He was our grandpa.
And he was the best.
Always larger than life, he brought, joy, laughter and fun wherever he went - which makes for a great Grandpa. He lit up every room that he was in, and in a family full of big personalities, Grandpa's light shone the brightest of all. After our wedding, our photographer told me that she had never taken so many pictures of someone's grandpa before, she was enamoured. I wasn't surprised. We all know that he was the star of that show. Every show.
He was there for all the major milestones, holidays and regular days in between. We lived together in White Rock; traveled together in Sweden and Norway. He was there for graduations, visits at camp, our weddings and our kids dedications. We watched countless hockey games and curling matches and had long talks at the table. There are memories at the farm in Manitoba, at the beach in White Rock and in the snow in Calgary. He was there when it mattered, and even when it didn't. He was there when we needed him, always praying, always a phone call away. In recent years, the talks were more poignant and the visits bittersweet as the years charged on while Grandma faded and Grandpa fought on, a gentler and tenderer version of himself. I watched history repeat itself as my daughter, Anna, fell madly in love with her great-grandpa.
And these last few hard and beautiful months, he let me stumble along beside him as he slowly made his way Home, gifting me with moments I wouldn't trade for anything - except even more of them.
Grandpa taught me that there is nothing more beautiful than the prairie sky, to love the crunch of snow under my feet and that every day is a glory day. He loved Jesus with every single fiber of his being. He showed me that means loving others, too.
I'm standing here now, trying to wrap my head around the fact that he's gone, trying valiantly to say goodbye and the truth is that I can't. I am simply unable to imagine my world without him. That's the kind of grandpa he was.
But then again, Grandpa was always so much larger than life. Thank you, God, for that.
I love you, Grandpa, always.