My grandpa, Jim Chandler, at the age of 92 went home last night.
This world was always a temporary stop for him. He taught me that we are travelers on our way to heaven and while we are staying here we should be the best guests we can be and show God's love to as many people as possible. He did that every day. There was never a day that went by that he didn't do something for someone else. He had a heart the size of Alaska and never passed up an opportunity to share the blessings God poured out on him with anyone he met.
My Grandma, Helen, went home ahead of him about 8 years ago. She also was so full of God's love and gave unselfishly of herself. She never met a stranger and I never heard her say a harsh word about anyone. They loved one another deeply and that love spread throughout our family. Their lives were an example to all of us and everyday I see their influence in my life and the lives of my own family. The passion they had for Jesus and the love they had for everyone around them is inspiring.
Grandpa went in the hospital two weeks ago and found out he wasn't going to make it much longer. Despite that news, he continued to be cheerful and upbeat, making the kids laugh every chance he could and helping the rest of us to feel better as well. He assured us all that he was prepared to go and was going to be seeing Jesus. He was discharged under Hospice care a little over a week ago. He deteriorated rapidly to the point of unresponsiveness. The last few days he was unconscious and had been nothing more than a shell, but he kept breathing. He was surrounded by many family and friends. Family from all over the country came to be by him and there were times it was like a big party going on with all of us talking and laughing together. We played games, ate lots of good food and visited. The thought crossed my mind early on that maybe we were being disrespectful but then I remembered that grandpa loved nothing more than to see us all together having a good time. I like to think the sound of our laughter and all the time we spent with each other, as well as with him, helped him pass a little easier.
I got the call about 5am this morning and I got dressed and went over to the house to be with my mom. As she cried on my shoulder I looked at his still form and pictured him being greeted at Heaven's gates by my grandma and a host of others whose lives he had touched. I am sure there is a huge celebration going on right now to welcome him home. He touched so many lives during his stay here on earth and I know that his influence will continue to be felt until the end of time.
After my mom regained her composure we sat on the couch and remembered some of the good times we had with him. I was able to tell her a few stories she hadn't heard before and we laughed together at some of his shenanigans. We talked about how much he loved grandma and how happy she would be to see him. Then we cried a little more for joy at the thought of him back in her arms and being with his precious Savior!
As we sat there it felt like time was standing still for us. I knew that life was going to go on and as I left to go back home to be with my kids when they woke up I saw the cars going to and fro on the streets and people getting started with their days. I thought that time hadn't stopped at all. But for us, it was good to take a moment of time, sitting by his bed, and remember the man he was and to picture the saint he has become.
We'll all miss you, grandpa, but I promise to come home too someday. When we get there, we'll never have to be apart again! Until then, I will continue to make your influence felt in this life by spreading the love that you taught me! You have left a powerful legacy that will be an honor to carry on.