These are just a few scattered ramblings following the recent passing of my precious Grandpa..so I'm not promising much for cohesiveness or grammar.

This morning my dad remarked a moment of enlightenment he had earlier as to why my Grandpa and I were so closely bonded: it's just a granddaughter thing. Anyone who has seen my dad within sight of his little "muffin" (my niece Elina) would hastily agree that she is the light of his life. He could be standing the middle of a hailstorm in only his briefs and she would still bring a smile to his face. He noted that there must have been that same connection between my Grandpa and me - a man and his princess of a granddaughter. My Grandpa always called me 'the apple of his eye' which I took to be a slight hyperbole, but I'm discovering he truly loved me that much.

What might actually bring me even more joy than dwelling on the love that we shared is the fact that over this past week I was able to serve him with everything I have. Though it was undoubtedly the hardest week of my life, I will cherish this time tremendously. Because my grandpa was fairly unresponsive over the last few days, he was unable to object to me sitting by his bed for hours, moistening his lips with a sponge, stroking his head, holding his hand, and generally making him as comfortable as possible despite the unpleasant circumstances. I was privileged with the opportunity to love this man through serving him, which ironically was his most prominent way of showing love to others. Our family rallied together in attempt to reciprocate just a small percentage of the tender care Grandpa extended to us over the years. In doing so, we were able to extend the love and grace of Jesus, which brought restoration, dignity, self-worth, identity, and redemption to his life.

In addition to the sweetness of catering to my Grandpa's needs, this week was filled with unforgettable moments of tenderness. Gentle kisses shared between man and wife of 63 years, family stories unearthed from the heart of Steiling tradition, hands held and tears shed and hugs given, blessings whispered, angelic songs sang, family bonded, and love flourished. A specific moment stands out as one I hold most dear from this time: as I was sitting on his bed in the afternoon, he stirred and became fully coherent. I squeezed his hand and told him I was there sitting with him, and I love him dearly, and asked him to just lay and rest while I sat there. He reached toward my shoulder, and I realized I had my curls up in a bun that day. Apparently that just wouldn't do, so I quickly let down my hair and he reached to run his fingers through it. It turns out that my Grandpa sincerely meant it throughout the years when he talked of how he loved my curls. :) I plan to keep my hair long and let my curls flow for as long as they choose to, in honor of this sweet man.

I loved him, respected him, admired him, cherished him, and held him in highest esteem. Now I choose to thank Jesus for taking him home.