Gift 52 – Your Great Grandpa

Hi Sweetie,

Your great grandpa, Jay Groenendyk, fell asleep last night a little after 10 pm.

I say “fell asleep” because of the New Testament motif used by several authors to express the reality that, because of Jesus’ resurrection, death has been turned into a nap.  I believe this is true.

But at the same time, this doesn’t mean that death doesn’t hurt.  Your mom wrote this last night:

Grandpa slipped peacefully into the arms of Jesus tonight! I’m so thankful for the legacy of love and memories he leaves behind, and for the chance to say goodbye these last few days. He was ready to see Uncle David again and be free of the pain of this earth. I’m so glad he was able to meet Reagan – his first great grandchild. There will always be a hole in my heart that can’t be filled by anyone else. Love you forever, Grandpa!

That hole she’s talking about is what it feels like when someone you love dies.  It’s an empty space left behind when a grandpa isn’t there in person anymore.  When this hole caused by death feels dark and deep, I go to an old poem by a man named John Donne.  I love this poem because it addresses Death for me when I’m too tired to remind myself of the hope we have in Jesus.  It goes like this…

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Like your mom said, I’m so glad you got to meet great grandpa.  I can’t wait to show you the picture of the two of you when you’re old enough to recognize it, and with your mom, tell you about your great grandpa.

One thought on “Gift 52 – Your Great Grandpa

  1. What special photos and memories you have to cherish from the time spent with this dear Grandpa and Reagan. So grateful~Sending you all, our love!

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