Remembering Grandpa

 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15

There are too many words and not enough words to express how much our hearts ache at the loss of our Grandpa. He was Tony’s dad and his best friend. He was a father to me longer than my own dad was. He’s the only grandpa my kids have known. He was the kind of dad that everyone wishes they had and he was the grandpa to my children that I prayed they would have. He was so present in our lives. Every birthday and holiday he was there but he was also there for just the regular ordinary days too. Sunday dinners at our house, surprise grandpa spottings in town at the grocery store or the library or passing him on the road. He would come into the room and make everyone else feel special and seen. He would sit for hours with my kids and ask them questions about their interests and hobbies. He wanted to know what they were thinking and whatever they loved he loved. He cheered us all on to pursue whatever was on our hearts to do. He’s been a rock in all our lives. Every big decision, he was Tony’s first person to talk to. And for all the little random thoughts, he was still the one Tony loved to talk to about everything.  Their relationship was so special. 

He was gentle and kind, patient, long-suffering, quick to forgive, humble, wise and wildly generous.  

He loved us so big and we loved him so big back. 

We are heartbroken and the world we knew doesn’t feel the same anymore without him. We miss him more than we knew was possible to miss someone. 

For our wedding, when talking about who would be Tony’s best man he said, “no one is better than dad” and he stood with us as we committed our lives to each other. He’s been there with us ever since too. In our hardest days, biggest shame and failures, as well as our best days and greatest achievements and joys, he’s been the rock in all of it. 

Not only have we lost a father but we’ve lost a friend. My heart aches for my children who are experiencing the loss of truly the greatest grandpa there’s ever been. 

This Christmas won’t be the same. Nothing will. But we also thank God for the years we had with Grandpa and who he has always been in our lives. He brought healing to broken places in my own life and the impact he has had on our lives will ripple throughout generations to come. 

He told me almost every time we were together, “family is the most important thing” and he lived that out. He loved us all with not just his words but with his actions too. He loved the Lord and had such a quiet strength about him that was the overflow of his walk with God. 

Since his passing we are seeing evidences of how God has been at work and moving behind the scenes, giving us gifts all along the way these last few years with Grandpa. We got to have lots of extra intentional time with him living closer to us, seeing him often, having him so present in our day-to-day lives. We can even see that the areas we thought were setbacks were actually God giving us gifts of time He knew we would cherish deeply now. The last few months Tony was even able to work with him again. They would text all day everyday. Our kids would talk to him often and little Lion would even call him with Tony to ask grandpa to bring over grapes and strawberries, a little tradition they had together. We have countless memories of him sitting at the counter with our kids chatting with them, looking at their drawings or writings, laughing with us, playing games at the dinner table, talking about life and God and politics, silly things, heavy things and everything in between. Before every goodbye he would hug our kids and give “cheeks” and say he loved them. 

If you know me, you know I fight hard for the people I love the most. Grandpa knew how much I loved him by my fight for him and my sass towards others. When I would get extra sassy he’d look at me and say, “Abs…” like I was in trouble and then smile so big and point at me and say, “that’s my girl!” 

Our plans always surrounded Grandpa. We even dreamed of being able to get a house that was big enough to bring Grandpa with us in. 

We love him so much and this loss feels too big. We are so grateful for the years we’ve had with him and that he was able to meet all of our babies. The moments and memories we have we will treasure forever and will retell to our kids and grandchildren so that each generation will know how special grandpa was. 

We love you, grandpa. 

A few things I want to remember:


Grandpa passed away two weeks to the day after his own dad passed away (Tony’s grandpa). Grandpa always spoke so highly of his dad. Anytime Poppy would come up in conversation he would tell us the same stories over and over about how generous his dad was, how he always had his home open to family and that he gave so generously. He was the rock for his family. And Grandpa followed in his footsteps towards us. Open hands, open heart, open home and so much generosity. I have countless stories of Grandpa giving to us. Even when I very first started dating Tony, he took me in as his own daughter and stepped into my life as my dad. He would stop by my house to fill up my little yellow convertible with gas. He would bring me gifts and leave little notes, just like a dad who loves his daughter would. One year he bought us a Christmas tree when we couldn’t afford one. He’s met me at grocery stores to buy us food when we couldn’t. I have very clear memories crying in a parking lot with Grandpa because he came to our rescue so many times. He met us in our brokenness and never once made us feel any shame or guilt. Just so much love. He displayed the love of the Father over and over and over again. And I think he learned it from his own dad. 


Tony was the last person to see him on the day he died. Grandpa asked to meet him at the store by his house to give Tony money for a Christmas gift he was helping us buy for the boys. Tony was able to give him a big hug goodbye. 


Grandpa’s last thing he was listening to before he died was the book of John on his tv at home. Now our kids are reading through it during this Christmas season in remembrance of Grandpa and this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus. This Christmas is less about the gifts and holiday cheer and more about the deeper meaning of Christ coming, our faith in Jesus and remembering our favorite grandpa. 


Grandpa’s greatest pride and joy came from his four sons, two daughters in law and eleven grandchildren. We were all his favorite people and we knew it. And he was ours. 


This was something Moriyah wrote that I want to save here too….

In my mind, after I heard and cried and was in my room praying, I felt a picture in my mind—mind you it wasn’t a true picture or vision or anything like that but it gave me peace and hope. 

I saw my grandpa younger—like in one of those old photos where he was young in his twenties and was happy, so so happy and smiling. Light, bright, warm, glowing, peaceful, comforting light surrounded him in a hug. God surrounding him in love. 

I’ve had that picture a few times since I was little. Light. I don’t know how to describe it but in my mind God is light. Not like a lightbulb or even the sun. It's big—bigger than anything I can see or describe. It's not really physical either. It's a feeling. It's a presence. It's…beyond description but the closest I can get to describing it is warm loving light. The feeling you get when hugging a loved one. A kiss on the forehead goodnight. The joy of opening a present. Seeing the vastness of the ocean stretching beyond anything you can see. Stretching your hands out to feel the wind clasped between your fingers though it's invisible and nothing you can truly touch. The sound of waves crashing on the shore. Light dancing on the waves. Fresh baked cookies. Cozying up to watch a christmas movie with hot chocolate. Saying goodbye with cheeks. It's more a feeling than something you can touch. It's peace. It's love. It's joy. It's understanding. It's the feeling of God in my life. 

It's small, only a moment of thought. Yet, it gave me peace. Peace that grandpa is with God. Peace that God has everything under control. Peace that God knows my pain and my family’s pain and that he will be with me and all of us. Peace that…that God has a plan for this. I don’t know what it is. I still don’t see why this needed to happen. I don’t know why he had to be taken away…but then…he won’t be in pain anymore. 

I’m selfish. I wanted grandpa to stay. 

I know he is home. 

You can feel peace even with a broken heart. 


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