Grandpa Virgil, A Tribute

January 03, 2016

When my brother married Jen, not only did I gain the sister I always wanted, but I also gained a whole extended family.

Their family has welcomed us all warmly and considers us as family.

We celebrate holidays together.  I think the only Christmas not spent with them was when we were in Jamaica on our honeymoon.

My favorite holiday tradition is that we all go caroling on Christmas day to a local nursing home.  Jen's mom Gloria plays the accordion, and we all make a joyful noise proclaiming the Savior's birth.  We wear Santa hats, ring bells, and bless the residents and staff.

Christmas 2009

But this year was different.

Gloria's dad, who I know as "Grandpa Virgil", went to be with Jesus on Christmas day.

It's been an emotional last few days.  And while I don't want to step on toes of Grandpa Virgil's true relatives, it has hurt like a loss of my own grandparent.

Virgil was the last person who I could refer to as Grandpa; my only other passed away long ago when I was in junior high school.  Losing Grandpa Virgil brought up memories of losing my other grandparents.  That hurt never goes away completely.  Losing another just brings it to the forefront of my mind.

After Grandpa heard I got engaged, he had another ring to give me.

Grandpa Virgil was always there with a smile and a story and a joke.

He danced at our wedding reception.

He traveled Europe at age 80.

He rode in a go-kart at age 88.

He never missed a chance to have fun.

He is a person who truly lived life.  Not just sitting on the sidelines watching.

He also never missed a chance to talk about Jesus and the importance of a relationship with the Lord in life.

Grandpa celebrating at my 30th birthday party

Over the last few days, there have been a lot of stories told, memories shared, and tears shed.  Today was a final memorial service.  It was a beautiful time honoring Grandpa Virgil and celebrating that He is with Jesus now.  And oh what a wonderful time they are having together.  As soon as I heard the news of his passing, though sadness filled my being and tears filled my eyes, I could still smile.  I could truly picture Grandpa Virgil in heaven, rejoicing and celebrating our Savior's birth with the One of honor.

We will miss you, Grandpa!

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  1. Beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes but a smile on my face.


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