We have been busy, busy, busy these last two weeks. Instead of the calm, lazy days that mark the first of the year for us, we have been hosting family and driving back and forth to Albany. On January 8th, Mark's Grandfather left his earthly body for a new and glorious home. I am surprised by the abundant emotions I have been feeling. Usually, I am happy for the times we shared and glad that he is no longer suffering from cancer. (He was diagnosed late February 2008 and given only 3 months to live, what do they know?) I have found myself surprised by the tears that come, which are often more frequent than I expected. The hardest part is watching Mark's family grieve. I have always been an empathetic crier and this time is no different.
Errant emotions aside, I am astounded at the blessing and greatness that one life can be. Edgar Willard Overlin was born August 11, 1915 and was raised in South Dakota. He came to Oregon to go to the Bible Training school in Eugene and graduated in 1939. He then married Gilberta Pauline Hansen later that year in October. They went on to have 15 children (2 babies didn't make it, if they had, there would have been 17), 46 grandchildren, 49 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild. For those of you keeping count, that's 111 offspring! He devoted 40 years of his life to faithful service at a local nursing home and 23 of those years were also spent ministering at Solvang Retirement Center (where my maternal grandmother is currently residing).
He led a quiet life, but a life of purpose and direction. I am greatful for the time that my children got to spend with him and hope that they will continue to have memories of him as they grow. I think that this is the crux of my grieving - that my children are experiencing loss, even though they may not understand.
A few times Isabella has gotten upset and stated that she doesn't want to go to heaven. I can relate. I remember those same feelings when I was little and had lost a family member. I have assured her that I am not ready for her to go to heaven, nor am I ready to go to heaven yet, myself. I have told her that there are still jobs that we need to do here before we go to heaven, but that it is a wonderful place to go when it is the right time. In true 4 year old fashion, she insists that she needs to pack a bag and becomes quite distraught when told that Jesus will have everything ready for us. She has been a ray of sunshine for us.
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