I was all set to go on my Leadership Retreat. I had paid for it months in advance, had my carpooling system set up and had everything prepared for the family while I would be gone for the weekend.
Then I got the call. My grandpa passed away.
We knew it was coming, but it happened more quickly than we expected. I suppose that is often the case-no one is ever really ready for such a thing to happen.
My grandpa had been sick for awhile and knew his time was almost up. Instead of being afraid or in denial, he knew where he was going and made sure that everyone heard one last "I love you." Every holiday in the past year was extra special, with our thoughts on "is this the last one he will attend?" As it turned out, this past Christmas was his last. I remember saying good-bye to him and having that gut feeling that it would be the last time I would talk with him this side of Heaven.
Right before he passed away, he was in his chair in his living room, with his daughters and wife by his side. They all talked with him and said that it was okay to go and to say hello to David (my cousin, who left this world too early twelve years ago).
How many people get that? To be home, surrounded by loved ones, being told that it is okay to move on? To know with certainty that he was about to see Jesus and leave his old and tired body behind?
After much discussion and not knowing when the funeral would occur, I still went on my retreat. Halfway to Tennessee, I got the call that the calling hours would be that Sunday. Here is where I am simply amazed and blessed by the people in my life. The girls that I rode down with got up that Sunday morning at 5am to get me to the Knoxville airport on time, missing the rest of our training. My husband drove to Akron with all of the kids and the dog to pick me up and continue on to PA for the calling hours. And all of this done with patience and understanding.
While I was in Tennessee, I had a room with a beautiful view of the mountains. As I stood there for the first time, admiring the view, I thought, "This is absolutely nothing compared to what my grandpa is seeing right now."
He is with Jesus. This is not the end and we will see him again. Where there are no more tears nor sadness. All because of what was done so many years ago on the cross.
My family will be celebrating Jesus' resurrection tomorrow on Easter Sunday. While this is one of my favorite days of the year, it is tiny compared to the celebration that awaits us in Heaven. And my grandpa is already there, waiting for us to join him.