Grandpa was blessed with a long, happy life, and as his life drew to an end he was then blessed with the opportunity to say good-bye to his children before he peacefully passed away.
When making plans for his funeral, grandpa had asked that the two oldest grandchildren share some of their thoughts at the service. Given that I'm not either of those (I'm more like the 12th oldest), it was a bittersweet moment for me to read through the family's special memories as I stood next to the second oldest grandchild. The oldest grandchild, Steve, passed away six years ago. And we all still miss him terribly.
My cousin began our remarks by sharing some of his special memories of grandpa. Next, I had the following comments before reading through several family stories. I wasn't sure how to end so I googled, "what to say at a funeral" and found the concluding poem.
In 2009 our family collected stories and special memories that we had of grandpa, and then read them aloud to him on his 90th birthday. As we reminisced about the past, patterns began to emerge in our recollections of him.
Grandpa was a hard worker, a provider, and a helping hand.
He had a servant’s heart and was humble and kind and giving.
Grandpa found joy in life and faced death not with fear, but with peace.
Even only as one man, he had a profound impact on the lives of countless loved ones, and his legacy lives on in his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
To all of the family members who contributed the following stories, thank you.
When I’m Gone
By Mrs. Lyman Hancock
When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile.
Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done,
Forget that I ever had a heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun.
Forget that I have stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way,
Remember I have fought
Some hard battles and won,
Ere the close of the day,
Then forget to grieve for my going,
I would not have you sad for a day,
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay
And come in the evening
When the sun paints the sky to the west,
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.
-photo taken by my cousin Rhonda-