The Beauty and Selfishness of Grief
When loved ones leave us
The gorgeous couple in this photo are my Godparents. They also happen to be my Aunt and Uncle. R osie is my fathers sister, and George is her husband. George has long been known to those of us who love him as "Papa", a name given to him by us when he first became a grandfather. So you may hear me refer to him in this article as George, or as Papa...they are one and the same.
God came to pick Papa up today, Friday, January 28th, at approximately 1:15 am. I got the pleasure of being able to be with him at the end of his life here on earth, and the beginning of his new life in Heaven. I borrow my phrasing "God came to pick Papa up today" from his great grandson, Tiernan. "T" is 5, and loves his Papa very much. He came to see him on Wednesday, after Papa was brought home from the hospital, to be cared for by us, and hospice. As they were preparing to go home that night, Tiernans mom told him to tell Papa he loved him, and he'd see him tommorrow...this adorable little boy said to his mother "Not if God comes to pick him up tonight, then we won't see him tomorrow." His mother could only agree. Thursday as he walked in the door to see his Papa he asked "Did God come to pick Papa up today?" No darling, not yet he was gently told. Today "T" was informed, God had indeed come to pick his much beloved Papa up.
Several days ago one of my cousins started a private group on Facebook and titled it "Uncle Georges Garden". She added all the cousins, and family, and close friends of the family she could find. Hour by hour this page grew with sentiments, pictures, laughter and tears for this wonderful man that had been part of our lives. A husband to his lovely wife for 56 years, a father do his daughter for 52....uncle, friend, co-worker, and confidant to so many more for more years than could be counted. This was a man who never knew a stranger, gave unselfishly of his time, money, and self. You may think these are merely words I say to comfort myself, to glorify a man who is now gone. You would be wrong. I'm not saying he was perfect...nobody is. But I can say he was a man that tried his whole life to be kind, to never intentionally hurt anothers feelings, to give if it was in his power to do so. He listened when you needed him to listen, he loved to tell jokes. He loved to take care of others.
Our tears are not for him, he's no longer in pain. Our tears are for ourselves. We will miss this gentle man more than words can say. But never would we trade the time we had with him for all the money in the world...the tears are well worth the joy we had in knowing him. And the gifts he's given all of us will never die...they live on, as his daughter said, in the blue of his grandchildrens eyes, in the silly jokes we all know how to tell so well because we listened to so many of his, in reading the words so many of his loved ones expressed on the garden wall for how he touched their lives...he will be missed, he will be mourned, he will never be forgotten. And he will be waiting for us all with open arms to welcome us home as our times come to join him. Thank you Uncle George for being with us as long as you could. We love you. Rest in Peace.