Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Good Grief.

This is the second post that I have written concerning the death of my Grandfather. The first was good. It talked about the events surrounding his death. It portrayed my experience surrounding his accident and ultimately his death. In my writing, it became evident to me that God was in the details of this process. Beginning months ago, He gave me experiences and impressions that have made this whole process easier and peaceful. It has been a blessing to see that He knew the end from the beginning, that He has a plan, and that my grandfather has been in His hands in both life and death.

However, as I have thought more and more, I've realize that for now, I'd rather focus more on the impact that my Grandfather's life has had on me, more than my experiences with His death, although I can attest that both have been incredibly positive influences on my paradigms.

My grandfather's death has left a hole in my heart, but he has filled my life with more than enough to replace anything missing. Lessons, love, service, and memories fill the void in his absence. 

The reality is the fact that my Grandfather has been in my life at all was a miracle. Just before I turned one year old, my Grandpa was in a car accident. His car went off the road due to inclement weather, and he survived with minor injuries. Multiple other cars went off the road during that day in the same spot, landing the same way, and everyone involved in those accidents died, except for Grandpa. By a miracle, he was protected and preserved.

I remember the first time my grandpa told me that story. He told me as we drove past the spot where his car went off the road. I was humbled to realize that every moment I had with my Grandfather was a gift from God. I still know that is true.

I have moments to treasure for a lifetime. I got to go to Oregon with Grandpa, to see his boyhood home. I got to stand in the ocean with him the last time his feet touched the pacific waves, the waves that had raised him. I got to see him interact with and love all those he met, no matter how much his chatter delayed the many plans that he had laid for us each day. Grandpa was a master of creating memories. At times he marveled at the traditions he started that we adopted, but he loved to facilitate them.

Grandpa never stopped moving. He couldn't give up working until he was 85. He was mobile and active despite difficulties with his health. He was on the constant lookout for someone to lift, someone to serve. He also loved to drag his grandchildren along, for which I will always be grateful.

During my high school years and beyond, I got to help Grandpa Brown make a history of his life. I listened to the same stories over and over again, but I loved seeing the light in his eyes and hearing the energy in his voice when he told it each time. However, the last time I saw Grandpa and spent time with him, all the stories I heard were brand new. I had brought a friend with me who needed to hear different experiences than I did, so I got to know a whole different side of my grandpa. That day added more depth to our relationship and it showed me how grandpa cared for everyone, but like the Savior he loved them one by one.

I could probably write a book about all that I have learned from my grandpa, and maybe I should, but it suffices me to say that I am grateful for this man who has become one of my best friends.

When I first heard of his accident, I accepted that it would lead to his passing. More than sadness, the thought of this inevitable separation brought me a degree of pain and grief.  A part of me wondered what I could do to remove the grief I was feeling. At that moment I realized something that took the pain and replaced it with gratitude..

I decided that the pain we feel or the grief we experience when a loss occurs, must be proportional to the joy that we have previously experienced. In that moment, I also came to realize that the joy we will experience when we are reunited will be exponentially greater than any of the temporary but real pain we experience upon being separated.

Suddenly, all grief I felt was matched with gratitude because all the grief I felt was a reflection of a tender moment with my grandpa, each tender mercy and gift that Heavenly Father had given me in the form of memories. I was filled with hope, and still anytime I feel sad, I begin to also feel grateful. I wouldn't trade those precious moments for anything.

The past weeks and months have also been filled with miracles and blessings. God was watching out for me, my grandfather, and my family through this whole process. Of that, I am certain.

God has a perfect plan. This has been evident to me in the way that events unfolded throughout this time. The plan is perfect but not painless. The pain only makes our joy more meaningful. The plan is not painless, but it is also not hopeless. In fact, our Heavenly Father’s plan is hope. Jesus Christ has power to save, heal, and strengthen, and He is the source of my hope.

I know He lives, I know that we will live again, and I know that families can be together forever through the gospel of Christ.