Tears want to burst forth and fill my eyes as I write the title to this blog post.
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A couple days ago I found out that my Grandpa Ford had a stroke and is now in the process of leaving this earth.
I talked to him on Facetime this last Sunday and he told me, like he has many times before, how proud he was of me and of my family.
This is a picture of him taken just a week or 2 ago (he turned 100 in February).
I told him I loved him and that I’d call him ‘next week’.
He told me he’d appreciate that.
We didn’t get that next call in.
That’s ok though because we got a lot in over our overlapping lives together on this earth.
I remember back in 2001, I was preparing to leave for 2 years to serve a church mission and He got my mom and I together to tell us he had prostate cancer.
For 2 years I prayed that he would be alive when I got home from Taiwan so I could have just a bit more time with him.
That prayer was answered with 19 more years of treasured experiences with him – not just for me, but my wife and children as well.
I’m so thankful my kids got to know this wonderful man.
My dad left when I was 8 years old and in many ways, my grandfather helped to fill the void left by my father.
Grandpa was there for the father and son’s camp outs.
He was there to remind me that I could do much better with the choices I was making as a teenager.
He was there to help us get wood and/or wood pellets for our stove to keep our family warm through the Idaho winters.
He was there to speak at the ceremony for my Eagle scout award.
One day he was there in my driveway with a new car he had purchased to help me get to and from college classes on safer wheels.
He was there with my grandma every Sunday in church.
He was there to help my mom through her youth as she did her best to make her way in life with unique setbacks and challenges.
He was there for her through her first divorce and he was there for her and her 2 little kids when my dad left our family…
He was there to send me off on my mission as both of us cried like babies…
He was there every Sunday in his chair, for hugs and laughs and fun conversations in his Idaho farm house, providing a rock solid fixture and foundation for my mind, heart and soul for 40 years.
I could go on, and on and on.
In short, he was there,
…………..he was there,
…………………………he was there.
This is a picture my Uncle Michael sent of his favorite reading and music listening spot, just as he left it, before he had his stroke.
A picture that says, like words never could, yes he was there, but no longer is.
And that is why our hearts hurt, and the tears flow and the sadness overcomes, all the while mixing and colliding with so many memories and emotions of happiness that have filled a lifetime.
As the pillars of my life who have brought me into this world and showed me breathtaking examples of how to live, continue to leave, I find myself struck with understandable grief and sadness.
But inside the sadness I also find an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
I’m so thankful for what they taught me through the lives they lived.
My grandpa taught me to be there for those who need me to be there.
As I looked at my to be list this morning and realized that I no longer will have the chance to try to be a great grandson,
I realized that maybe my work to try and be a great grandson is really just beginning.
Now that you’re gone Grandpa, there is a void in the world and shoes to be filled and people to be there for that you won’t be here to help.
I’m terrified that I’ll never be able to live up to the example you left for me to follow but I will do my best.
I love you grandpa.
Thank you for the gift of your life.
*As I was just about finished with this post, I got the text from my mom that my grandpa passed away at 5:30 this morning.
Thanks for stopping by and whatever you do, always go for your dreams,
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