I touch my growing stomach as I peer into the room where my grandpa "Poppy" is asleep and breathing heavily as he lies on a hospital bed in my parent's living room. As I prepare to bring this baby into the world Poppy is ready to leave this life for the next one. He is dying. But though his body is weak his spirit is very much alive.
Saturday we had a family gathering to say "goodbye" to the patriarch of our family who has faithfully loved his sweetheart for sixty plus years, raised two children, made countless memories with his six grandchildren and has lived to see nine of his great grandchildren. Mark spent some time blessing Poppy for the legacy of love that he is leaving behind. Though he did not speak or open his eyes he seemed very aware of our presence. I rubbed his arm and said "I love you Poppy." His eyes were closed but suddenly he lifted his head slightly off the pillow and with a broken raspy voice said, "I love you....I love you...I love you". I was undone. It was a blessing from one generation to the next. But it was more than that. I felt the Father's unconditional love coming through loud and clear. That night during church worship we sang this chorus, "I believe you move at the sound of my voice". I cried remembering Poppy rousing from his deathbed at the sound of my voice to say I love you three times so I would know. How much more is the Heavenly Father listening to the cries of my heart and hearing me, rousing at the sound of my voice. It is life changing to think about...
Watching Poppy on his deathbed puts things in perspective. Like all of us he was not perfect but he loved and he loved well and that is what he will be remembered by. He will be remembered for the life long love story he had with his high school sweetheart and how he cared for her till she died. For the unconditional love he showed to his children and grandchildren. For the patience he showed to this little girl in teaching her to throw the line, wait and reel in the fish. For the way he took time to bless Mark and I and our children at the end of every visit. For his faithful prayers and generous heart. For his gift giving. For his example in serving the homeless and unlovable. For his love for camping, fishing and hiking. For trumpet and clarinet duets in the basement as he tapped his foot to keep the rhythm and always said how good it sounded as I squeaked along to his confident trumpet call. And for his love of the Lord.
His legacy is love and I only hope one day the same can be said for me. Thanks Poppy.