fifteen years ago today, my grandfather passed away. I had just turned 18 years old, and was a geeky freshman off at engineering college. I wrote the passage below for an English Composition class (and had to read it aloud in class just a few days after his death… I was pretty choked up and had tears in my eyes):
For the past few months, my paternal grandfather had been struggling with cancer of the liver. Because liver cancer strikes so quickly, we were expecting his time to come, but nothing can ever prepare you for when that day finally arrives.
On Tuesday, September 30, during a routine operation at the hospital, my grandfather’s kidneys failed. That night I received one of the worst phone calls of my life. My mother called to break the news that my grandfather was in the hospital, and probably would not make it through the night.
Somehow, though, my grandfather made it through the night and seemed to be getting better. On Friday, he came home from the hospital, to spend his final days with his wife and family. He came home to say good-bye and to die. My father immediately went to see his father that Tuesday, and the rest of my family joined him that Friday.
It was hard to see my grandfather lying on the hospital bed in his living room, with oxygen tubes that helped him breath and an IV tube for his morphine shots. I could easily see that his body was rapidly deteriorating; he looked so pale and thin. But I could tell when I held his hand and looked in his eyes that his spirit was still strong.
I do not know if it was my grandfather’s sheer willpower or by the grace of God, but he was holding on to life and was not quite ready to give up. All of his children and most of his grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) were able to say our final good-byes and tell him how much we loved him and would miss him.
My grandfather passed away this Tuesday, October 7 , but that does not mean he will be forgotten. Grandpa George will live on in his children, their children, and through the generations. I cannot put into words all that he has done for me, his grandson, but I will do my best.
My grandfather raised his children in a godly manner, and my father has taught me the same. He taught his children to work hard; he taught them to love others — family, friends, and later, spouse and children. One day, I too will train my children in that same manner.
Even though I said my very last good-bye to my grandfather just before they laid him to rest this Saturday, I do not think I can ever thank him enough for all the many things he has done for me, and in so many different ways. By training my father, by setting examples for me, and by living a godly life — my grandfather has trained me too, and played a very important role in my upbringing. He has done more for me than I could ever ask for, and my gratitude will never be enough. Even so, thank you; and Grandpa, I love you.