Last week we said farewell to one of the most wonderful men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Jake’s grandfather, who had a massive role in raising him, passed away on Tuesday afternoon. We spent the rest of the week and weekend with family remembering and cherishing memories and each other. Although I’ve only been part of the family for five years, there was never a day that Grandpa made me feel like I was a newcomer. The more I sit and think about the kind of man he was, the more I pick up lessons and nuggets of life truth that I hope to emulate in our life.
Grandpa has fourteen grandchildren (not counting spouses), some adopted, and some that wandered in and just never left. Jimmy was the perfect example of all the grace and hospitality that I hope to lead my life with. His door was always open to whomever needed a home, his table always had an extra chair for whomever was hungry, and his heart was endlessly open to love anyone seeking love. He loved to laugh, prank, and pester anyone he could with all the joy of a light spirit.
He was known for his garden, and his willingness to give to anyone who would take anything he could offer. He built his home in the 60’s and has faithfully loved it every day since, including the animals and acreage surrounding it. Two neighbors of 40+ years spoke to his friendship and generosity at the service, and talked of his constant willingness to help, the baskets of produce left in exchange for fresh eggs, and fishing trips filled with stories.
There are so many things I wish I could thank him for. The profound affect he had on Jake molded him into the man I know and love. His 60 year marriage set which the bar high to model after in our lives as well. For always welcoming me into his home and family with open joyous arms. For demonstrating true and selfless generosity. The list could go on forever, but I believe he knows.
Thank you for everything, Grandpa. We will miss you.