What I learned from my grandfather’s death

So, my grandfather, my final grandparent, passed away last week, on my birthday. And there are a few things I learned due to his death as well as his funeral, and everything revolving around his transition.

1.) My birthday was still my birthday, but I didn’t find nearly as important as my granddad’s demise. It was interesting to watch my family struggle with trying to be excited about my 28th year, and trying to figure out how to tell me that gramps died – his 88th year. And once I knew, it became painfully clear that birthdays, though special for individuals, do not freeze time, or provide a 24 hour forcefield from bad things – life things. Bad things happen everyday and everyday is someone’s birthday. Life is life, everyday. I was forced to not be self-centered. Forced to share the spotlight with a man I’ve always admired, and unfortunately will never see again.

2.) At the funeral, the preacher kept saying “Well done thy faithful servant.” A bible quote I’ve heard a million times at what seems like a million funerals at this point. But this time was different. My grandfather was a blind man, who dedicated his life to service after his eyesight went almost 30 years ago. His way of serving was starting a prayer line, which ended up being almost 3000 people that he would call and talk to as well as pray for. That’s 3000 phone numbers that he memorized. That’s 3000 people he potentially affected positively by a simple phone call. So simple yet so powerful.

3.) My father talked about how grandad always said that the stripping of his eyesight made him a better person. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him because he was forced to REALLY see people.

He used to feel my face, throughout the years as I grew older. I used to ask him if he knew what I looked like. He’d always laugh and say, “Of course I do!”

I pray he saw me. Like, REALLY saw me.

RIP Brooke Reynolds. May I be half the man…

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5 comments

  1. angelisa hannon

    This is amazingly inspirational. Not only for you and your family. But imagine if we all saw people for who they really are. Your grandfathers way of not judging to swiftly and focusing on everyone as an individual is the way I aspire to be. Get blog

  2. Kevin

    When your birthday is over shadowed by the birth of a megastar aka Jesus Christ nothing else matters. Life, death all becomes trivial because we remember to celebrate the birth of the son of God. That’s why we are all so humble. I do hope however you enjoyed your special day in December…I know I did. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

  3. Tracie

    Jason, I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather’s death. I never met him but he sounds like an excellent man and grandfather. You are an fascinating writer. I admire your maturity. I love you cousin!!!!

  4. Tracie

    Jason, I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather’s death. I never met him but he sounds like an excellent man and grandfather. You are a fascinating writer. I admire your maturity. I love you cousin!!!!

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