Celebrating A Life Well Lived

I know most of you can relate when I say there are times you look back on a year and see how God has been so faithful in the little things. For different reasons here and there, I’ll just go ahead and admit that 2013 has not been my favorite year. It has certainly had its rough patches and that’s okay. Not every year is a pep rally. Sometimes there are certain years that are amazing and you treasure those and keep doing life, then there are those that are just plain hard and still you keep doing life. The key is to keep moving forward with Jesus not matter what. Because one thing we can know is that each and every day is the day He has made, and we WILL rejoice and be glad in it, even if it involves tears, heartache, confusion and disappointment.

Two months ago you might remember that I blogged about my brief trip to Colorado to celebrate my Grandpa’s 86th birthday and my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. Before that, my grandparents spent Memorial Day weekend in Houston with us and before that, I spent Christmas in Colorado with my entire family. Only the Lord could have ordained all of that time together because last week, we said goodbye to my sweet Grandpa. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer right around Labor Day, and three weeks later, on September 26th, he met Jesus. It was fast and furious, but knowing how incredibly sick and in pain he was, we’re all so grateful he’s no longer suffering.

I realized recently that not everyone gets to experience the blessing of grandparent’s like I have. Distance didn’t mean a thing to my grandparent’s. They were so faithful and never missed a beat or a birthday in our lives. Always involved, always healthy and thriving, which is what made the last month so hard. I’ve been quiet about all of it, but mainly because I can’t talk about it without a big lump in my throat or crocodile tears on my face.

We celebrated his life together last week in Colorado with hundreds of family and friends gathered and honored his long and very blessed life that ended with a 21-gun salute to his service in the military, and the flag presentation to my grandma, which is incredibly moving.

(Can I just pause and say a big THANK YOU to those of you that sacrifice your husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandpas, mothers, sisters, wives, aunts and so on and so forth to the military? Thank you is lame, I know, but I mean it. It is no small feat, and no small sacrifice. We appreciate them more than we can say. I hope you know that and feel that today if you are in that situation.)

My Grandpa is so deeply missed by all of us, but now I can brag about what blessing he was to literally everyone that knew him. Every morning last week I woke up at my grandparent’s house expecting to be greeted by his huge grin, kiss on the cheek and a, “Good morning my Lindselpie! What do you want this morning?” and then he’d list off every breakfast option imaginable.

I don’t know if it’s possible, but I fell in love with my family all over again last week. We got to do so many things Grandpa loved to do, like work on the puzzle he had been working on during his last weeks, laugh at thousands (and I do mean thousands) of pictures, re-tell his old (and sometimes inappropriate) jokes, take a visit to the mountains to visit the old cabin he built and they used to live in and eat his favorite foods, among many other things.

Sad? Yes. Despairing? No. We know we will see him again one day. Hard? Absolutely. But blessed in the midst of it all? Without a doubt.

So, if the blog has seemed a bit quiet, you’re not imagining things. In the middle of tweeting, blogging, facebook, Instagram, snapchat, and all things social media, real life happens. To all of us. I’ve learned that when real life happens, sometimes nothing is the right thing to say, and other times when real life you happens, you just have nothing to say. If you’re in the thick of it right now, and if you feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water today, I pray you feel God’s nearness. I know many of you are in storms that are unbearable. For that, know that every tear that falls on your pillow (and we all know those pillow tears, don’t we?) I have a deep compassion for you. But when we know God is near and in control, it makes life a little more bearable. Amen?

But just like I was reminded last week, it’s much more exciting to live life as opposed to making up things to write or tweet about. Can I get an amen? And my Grandpa lived life to the fullest. I could go on and on about him, but I won’t, lest I bore each of you to death. Let’s live a little life this week, in the midst of chaos, blessing, sadness, and joyful occasions, let us express our hope in Jesus and live. Because where there is hope, there is life.

I thought about not sharing any pictures with you all, but that just felt wrong. So, I’ll share a few of my favorites pictures and memories from this last week that we got to smile over.

One thing I want you to notice is my Grandpa’s pocket protector in each picture. He OWNED that pocket protector and wore it literally my entire life. Can you say fashionista? Laughing.

I can honestly tell you that Grandpa never withheld one ounce of love. He loved so well.

I just thought this was fun. We were looking through some books and found this picture of Grandpa during the Korean war. “Nothing like an early morning shave with cold water out in the open.” (That is something I cannot relate to. Grin.)

This was just two months ago celebrating my grandparent’s 60th anniversary. Such a treasure right here in this picture.

Me and Grandpa and couple of years ago. Again, notice the pocket protector and pens. I hope it makes you smile as much as me. (Side note: He wrote EVERYTHING down, everyday. From sun-up to sun-down. That was fun to look back on.)

I am sure this sight is familiar to many of you. To you, I say thank you so, so much and I am so,so sorry. But what better way to honor our military troops and veterans? So moving. So incredibly special.

In his free time, my Grandpa worked on puzzles of all kinds. Jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles and just plain old puzzles. This is the last one he was working on and this was as far as he got. We used to work on them with him, so you better believe we picked up where he left off and in all our might, tried to finish this one, but alas, did not. Too little time and WAY too hard. But it was a good memory to relive despite his absence.

We got one day last week to just be, so we headed up the mountain to visit my grandparents’ old cabin where they used to live. Right next to this lake where we used to fish all the time. (My Grandpa was the fisherman of fisherman.) Three of us may or may not have been wearing some of Grandpa’s old coats as we were not prepared for the cold weather. (Another side note: My Grandpa built every house he lived in, except the last two.)

The view right outside their cabin. A little Autumn snow had just fallen. It was chilly, crisp, breezy and beautiful.

I came home Sunday evening to this stunning sunset. We were driving out of the airport when my dad pulled over so I could get out of the car and take this pictures. It took my breath away. This was THE best welcome home banner ever. All I kept saying was, “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

After that sunset, we kept driving and then this happened. As if the first sight wasn’t enough. THIS? Unreal, y’all. And we watched plane after plane take off into that sunset. To say I was obsessed is a slight understatement. My dad didn’t pull over so I could take this, but apparently that didn’t matter. A moving car couldn’t even ruin this picture.

I don’t know about you, but it’s little things like that, a welcome home sunset, that remind me how faithful God is. That He sees. He cares. And He goes before you and me. I needed that. And maybe you do, too. He is so worthy of our faith and our trust.

And all the people said amen.


110 Responses to “Celebrating A Life Well Lived”

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  1. 1
    Barb says:

    Lindsee, praying for you in this time of loss and cheering for your Grandfather as he is with Jesus. Love and blessings.

  2. 2
    Shay says:

    So sorry for the loss of your Grandpa. When their adult grandchildren can share in their lives, it is an extra special gift.

    We just lost one of my grandfathers in August. He, too, was a veteran, and the service with the flag & 21 gun salute was so moving. Hard to put in to words.

    So glad you had 25+ years to spend with this special man.

  3. 3
    Leslie Breighner says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this inspirational story. We have been talking alot lately about having hope–what a wonderful thing to have. Grandparents are the best. You certainly were blessed by them being a part of your life.

  4. 4
    Melanie Toups says:

    I can so relate to your tender heart. My family is very close-knit just like yours. My precious grandmother is 102-years-old (will be 103 in Jan.) and has been able to live in her home (w/ assistance) until the past 3 weeks since she has been hospitalized. She is as sharp as ever cognitively, but we fear she is at the end of her earthly journey. For her 90th birthday, my parents had a kneeler made for her that was placed in her bedroom because she spent so much time on her knees in prayer for all of us. She lives in a little town called Mamou, La. in the heart of Cajun country. I live 2 hours away in Texas and spend the weekend with her every 4-6 weeks. I love her more than words can say. Thank you for sharing your about your sweeet grandfather. I know he was most blessed in you.
    Much love,
    Bridge City, TX

    • 4.1
      Lindsee says:

      Melanie! Wow! 102, I think I gasped with I read that. How amazing. And what a huge blessing she sounds like. I pray each weekend you have with her is especially sweet. Bless you.

  5. 5
    jenny says:

    What an incredibly beautiful tribute to your grandfather! He sounds like he was a special man! That sunset is just about the most beautiful one i’ve ever seen!

  6. 6
    Debbie says:

    Thank you Lindsee for sharing this beautiful, moving tribute to your Grandfather. So thankful you have so many happy memories of being showered by his love.

  7. 7
    april lopez says:

    Praying for you sweet Lindsee. Sorry for your loss here but rejoice that he is with Jesus. Thank you for sharing your heart and stories about him. I look forward to meeting him one day.:-)
    God bless you and your family,

  8. 8
    Michele says:

    Lindsee, thank you for posting this…I feel like I know your Grandpa now, a little bit :0) I will be praying for you and your family.
    This year has been pretty hard for us,too. Honestly…the hardest ever in our lifetime. So I understand a bit and I will pray.

  9. 9
    Shelley says:

    I can so relate to your year. 2013 has not been my a banner year for my family either. From a miscarriage, to our basement flooding, totaling my car, and losing my grandmother the Lord is proving His faithfulness and provision. I lost my grandmother (whom I spent weekly if not daily time with for the first 18 years of my life) 10 days before you lost your grandfather. I understand that grief. It hurts. Bad. Oh to know we will see them again. Thanks for sharing your heart. 🙂

  10. 10
    Sandra Oden says:

    Sweet words for a sweet man. Sorry for your loss, but what a wonderful legacy he left to you. My dad wore a pocket protector too…all of his life..:)

  11. 11
    Tara G. says:

    So sorry for your loss, and on the other hand, rejoicing with you over a full life that left a beautiful legacy and is enjoying eternity now.

    My husband just returned from his deployment yesterday; your thanks is very much appreciated…while it was new and fresh to everyone when he first left, it remained our reality when that wore off, and it’s always nice to be remembered.

    • 11.1
      Lindsee says:

      And remembered your husband is, Tara. Thank you so much. I’m so glad he’s home to you and your family!

  12. 12

    Grandparents are so incredibly precious, especially when they let their love flow like your Grandpa did. I am so sorry for your loss, but so happy you got many good years to enjoy him (and he you).

  13. 13
    Valerie Robertson says:

    Beautiful tribute to a man who lived life well! Much about him reminds me of my Dad who passed away 11 years ago. What a legacy we are privileged to live in, right?
    Thank you for sharing your real life with us. Praying for you today.
    One of your siestas, Valerie

    • 13.1
      Lindsee says:

      Yes, Valerie! So true. I kept saying last week how lucky I was to be his. He was loved and respected by many!

  14. 14

    Lindsee, Thanks so much for sharing your heart. I have tears streaming down my face right now. My mom suffered a stroke a month ago and is still in the hospital. In so many ways, my mom is already gone. She can’t talk, can’t use her right side, doesn’t have much facial expression. It tears me up that I can’t call and just talk like we used to. She’s the only one that I could call and know she was not too busy to just talk. I did get to talk with her a few hours before the stroke. I’m so glad I did. While I know she’ll be with Jesus one day and I’ll see her and hear her voice again, I just can’t imagine my life without my mom. My dad’s devotion to her is awesome to watch and the times he has broken down and cried is so difficult to see. They have been married for 60 years. Within the first week of the stroke he leaned over her in the hospital bed and said, “We got another adventure ahead of us, Love.”
    I could go on and on as this has been a hard “adventure”, but I’ll stop except to say that Jesus has heard my cries of pain and sorrow and does calm the waves of despair.

    • 14.1
      Lindsee says:

      Oh, Judy. I am so, so sorry. Truly, my heart hurts for you. Right before their 60th wedding anniversary, my grandma had a stroke as well. By the grace of God she’s okay, but that was so hard to watch as well. I’m praying right now that you feel God’s tenderness, compassion and love towards you and your entire family during this painful time. Much love your way, Sister.

  15. 15
    KimDotJoy says:

    What a wonderful post about your Grandpa and what a legacy he left. So sorry you will not see him again on this earth but because of Jesus you will see him again one day…healed and whole.

  16. 16
    Melissa says:

    I just lost both of my grandparents within eighteen days of each other (Aug. 29 and Sept. 13) so I can empathize with you. Your granddaddy’s story is so similar to mine that it brought tears to my eyes. Praise the Lord that this is not the end of the story for our sweet grandparents and that we will see them again. I, like you, am so thankful for their legacy and for our memories.

  17. 17

    So very sorry for your loss, Lindsee. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a beloved grandparent. May your memories always be close.

  18. 18
    Dionna says:

    I lost my grandpa in 2009 and it still feels like yesterday. He was 90. I really feel your heartache as he was so loved and I know I will see him in heaven someday.


  19. 19
    Sloan says:

    Lindsee, I can so relate to this. My precious grandmother finally passed away in August after over a year of battling pancreatic cancer with no treatment. I have no idea how she held on that long. But it was very hard to watch her suffer for so long. We won’t know why on this side of Heaven, but I am so thankful she is no longer in pain, although I miss her everyday.

  20. 20
    Kerry Morby says:

    I just want to reach out and give you a cyber-hug, sweet one. Well done. Don’t even know you, but you are a dear to write such a beautiful tribute to your grandpa and to your God. Hugs!

  21. 21
    Connie G says:

    It is so hard to lose someone you love. Luckily you have all the good memories to fall back on. I somethings think that is God’s way of balancing the pain of loss. Hang on to the memories of those who are gone and make as many new ones as you can with loved ones who are still with you.

    Beautiful sunset.

  22. 22
    Danita says:

    Thank you so much for this entry. My grandmother died 8 years ago today. This morning at work my friend has lotion that reminded me of her. Just that smell took me back. Then on Facebook our family was reminiscing about our grandparents who were the absolute best people, godly people. I want to be just like my grandma, so full of faith. We have such great memories of them. Just hang tight to those. God bless!

  23. 23
    Monica says:

    AMEN! SO glad you were blessed in your tears!

  24. 24
    Carolyn S. says:

    So sorry for your loss, Lindsee. I loved reading each thing about your grandfather. We moved away from my grandparents when I was 8 (I’m 51) and visits were sporadic after that. My family is not known for letter-writing. I feel I missed out on so much. The one thing I do remember about my grandpa is that, though he didn’t use a pocket protector, he did wear a tie every day. Even when he mowed the lawn, or was hanging wash on the line for my grandma! thanks for sharing some of your precious memories with us.

  25. 25
    Gail says:

    I can only say, Thank the Lord for faithful heritage! With some a lot of fun thrown in along with the Hope in Jesus they gave to us! May God bless your family sweet one. So glad you shared this with us all. Loved it! Prayers!

  26. 26
    ruth says:

    God Bless you and your family,Lindsee! I know so much of what you describe–sad but not despairing, certainly! When my grandparents and now parents passed on, we had such wonderful, memorable family times. It is just such an honor to review a life and indulge in recalling so many aspects of a person.
    But the terrain of your life is changed inextricably–which is a true grief. Praying for you and yours as you walk this out.

  27. 27
    shannon conner says:

    You sound like one rich girl because of your sweet family. 🙂

  28. 28
    traci says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart , Lindsey…reading your words brought my thoughts to my gramps. And I couldn’t believe you ended with beautiful sunsets!! God used you to bless me today. Be blessed back! 🙂

  29. 29
    Linda says:

    So glad you were blessed with such a special Grandpa. Praying your precious memories will get you through the hard times.

  30. 30
    melanie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. There is nothing quite like the love of a grandparent. I miss mine so much. Praying for you and your family.

  31. 31
    Mary Lee Riggs says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Lindsee. Grandparents are so amazingly special and it sounds like you were blessed with a peach of a grandfather! Praise God he is with Jesus and didn’t suffer long. My mother-in-law died 8 years ago of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63, so I understand the suffering that that type of cancer brings. I so appreciate your grandfather’s service to our fine country and your acknowledgement of it. My 22-year-old Marine son deployed to Afghanistan just 3 weeks ago. May he leave the kind of legacy your grandfather has! God bless you.

    • 31.1
      Lindsee says:

      Mary, I’m praying for you and your Marine boy right now. That God would keep him, sustain him and bring him back to you and your family. Many blessing and much love.

  32. 32
    Linda says:

    Hi, Lindsee! I’m sorry to hear about your loss…bittersweet times, for sure! We so long for the day when we will meet our Lord and Savior, yet for those who are left to wait a little longer our hearts ache, missing the one we love and anticipating the One we will meet face to face. My grandpa (and grandma, too)were alot like yours. Full of love for Jesus and family! Hugs to you and prayers for His peace. And AMEN to trusting in Him always!

  33. 33
    Pat says:

    Lindsee so sorry for your loss. I love the story of your grandpa’s life. I smiled at the pictures of him and his lovely wife and all your family. Thank you for sharing. God is so good to us, giving us extraordinary sunsets and signs in the sky. When one of our friends battling cancer passed away, there was an unbelievable sunset after a storm, with a rainbow and a sky that was so orange that it looked like it was on fire. I did not know that friend had died at that time, but I distinctly remember stopping and staring at the sky, knowing God was communicating. When I talked with my friend’s wife at the service, she commented about the sky the night her husband had died. I knew then that God shares our sorrow and helps us through it. It sounds like your grandpa left a lifetime of memories for your family; what a wonderful legacy! Prayers for you and your family.

  34. 34
    Joan Anderson says:

    I’m so glad you have the great memories of his love. I will pray that you grieve with God’s comfort and peace during this time. Your memorial for him was touching.

  35. 35
    Windy Scott says:

    Lindsee, I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Grandfather, mentor and friend. May our God greatly bless you and your family with love and peace during this difficult time. I have lost both of my boys in the past five years and I know the pain of death. But God is SO AWESOME and loving, just look at those sunsets. I too find peace in His work and thank you for sharing your love for Him and your Grandfather in your Blog and the pictures. God Bless you and your family, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • 35.1
      Lindsee says:

      Oh, Windy. I am so sorry to hear about you loosing your boys. I cannot imagine. But thank you for testifying that God is good regardless. Blessings on you today, Sister.

  36. 36
    Christiana says:

    Lindsee, I am so sorry for your loss. My grandmother was my best friend and she would have been 100 years old today. We buried her on her 92 birthday after a very long battle with liver cancer. I am so blessed to have had her in my life as long as I did. And I am very happy that your grandfather did not suffer long with that illness! Cancer is brutal! So, know that you are blessed to have had him in your life as long as you did and enjoy the memories! You will see him again in his new body and your reunion will be sweet!

    Feeling you today sista! Hugs…

  37. 37
    Maureen Chabot says:

    Amen sweet sister!! And I am deeply sorry for your loss and on the other hand so blessed that you would share the stories and pictures of your amazing “grandpa” and the life you all cherished with him here and remember as he settles into his new home…with Jesus!!

  38. 38
    Dena says:

    This literally made me cry tears on my pillow as I’m reading this right before bed. I so understand your sadness right now. You are such a sweet soul. God bless you, Lindsee! You are a wonderful legacy to your dear, sweet grandpa.

  39. 39
    Barbara, long Bach, Ca says:

    Your sweet post brought a fresh tenderness to my heart. I need to be reminded (after 30 years) of the faithfulness of God. I am a grandmother who at 61 is raising my 9 year old granddaughter so I look at grandparanting differently. To be loved and to love grandchildren is one of the greatest earthly gifts God gives us. Thank you for being so real, open and transparent. Prayers for your grandma and all of you.

  40. 40
    Irene says:

    What a beautiful and incredibly touching tribute to your grandpa! God has His arms wrapped around you! He is Good, All the Time!

  41. 41
    Charlotte Carty says:

    Grand parenting is such a precious role and one I want to do well. Your grandpa raised the bar for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing. May God bless you as you grieve.

  42. 42
    Janet says:

    I just love that your Grandpa wrote everything down. That is a beautiful thing to find and treasure. My mom passed away years ago and one of the best things I found of her’s was her recipes that she had hand written. So cool! Those are keepers!

    Beautiful sunset! Thanks for sharing.

  43. 43
    Mindy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Lindsey. I lost my Grandpa in 2010.
    He loved well too, made me breakfast, was a WWII veteren, and loved
    genealogy. Thanks for all the pics and for sharing. Your Grandpa certainly was a
    great man. Much love

  44. 44
    Barbara Menefee says:

    So sorry for your loss. I still miss my “Papaw” every day. HIs last words to me were, I love you, baby girl (I was 25), as they were rolling him off to surgery. He was a huge part of my life, and I still miss him. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

    • 44.1
      Lindsee says:

      Oh, yes! I’ll never forget my Grandpa’s last words to me either. A bit muffled because of the pain medicine he was on, but very, very clear. Blessings to you, Sister.

  45. 45
    fuzzytop says:

    Lindsee – What a beautiful post. The love you feel for your Grandpa and he for you just shines through. What a blessing to know that he is with Jesus! And the sunset photo is absolutley amazing. God is so good!

    Love and prayers,

  46. 46
    Judy Smith says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It really helped me to read this today because life is hard down here sometimes but we do have HOPE. So we hold on to that HOPE in Jesus that the best is yet to be and help each other through the hard times. You have truly helped me and blessed me today. May God give your family all they need to get through this time.

  47. 47
    Barbara Head says:

    Oh, Lindsee! That is almost all I can get out at this moment. Oh, Lindsee! I really needed this right now. You are a very special young woman. God is faithful!

    • 47.1
      Lindsee says:

      Oh, Barbara! I’ll say it right back to you. Knowing all I’ve heard about you, I am sure you are one amazing Grandma to your girls. I imagine you are very, very loved as you love so well. 🙂

  48. 48
    Elena says:

    How BLESSED you were to have such an interested, attentive, fun and loving Grandpa! His life of love toward all of you inspires me, as did your post. God bless you, precious Lindsee.

  49. 49
    Beth Bishop says:

    What a sweet tribute to your grandpa! How precious to have been able to spend so much time with him, especially near his last days. Grandparents are such a blessing. Hope I can live be this kind of grandma to my precious little boys. Praying for Gods comfort and blessings on your family as you grieve this huge loss.

  50. 50
    Shannon says:

    Amen, Lindsee! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Prayers and blessings to you and your sweet family.

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