Last week, we were able to be a part of the memorial and funeral services for Darren’s grandfather, aka Papo. (Yes, it’s spelled with an “o” and not “aw”. There’s a whole other story there.) We spent a couple of days reminiscing with Darren’s family and reflecting on life and death. For me, it was also a time of learning more about life and love.
In our 20 years of marriage, Darren has stood by me through the deaths of two grandfathers, one grandmother, and my mother, as well as extended family members and close friends. This was the first death for us to experience together in his family. Darren has always been my rock and encouragement during those difficult times. Last week was no different. Even in his grief, he encouraged me and others as he shared about the love between his Mamo and Papo and shared his thanks for all his Papo had taught him.
Darren was able to be with his Papo as he took his last breath. His description of what he saw and felt during that time was beautiful, especially the love that he saw expressed by his Mamo. They were married almost 67 years! In that moment, he saw raw love expressed as never before. It challenged him – and me – to love more deeply.
At the funeral, Darren, along with the other grandkids, was able to share his thoughts of his Papo. He was able to say “thank you” for several things he loved and appreciated about his life. Papo taught and showed Darren the value of working hard and giving generously. Probably the most common theme that Papo told all of his grandkids was to love the Lord and serve Him in everything. There are several children and grandchildren in full-time ministry; but for Darren, that means working in the corporate world. Papo was so proud of Darren and his work, and I am too!
Death, regardless of the circumstances or age, is sad and difficult. However, it can also be a time for reflecting on life, and, as I’ve seen recently, on love. It’s hard for me to put into words how proud I have been of Darren during this time and how close to him I feel. When tough times or major life events happen, I find that my love and respect for Darren grows deeper. It’s in those times that I am reminded that the life I share with Darren is more than I could have ever dreamed. It’s not what I had imagined or planned; it’s better. We are not immune to hard times – sadness, sickness, death, hurt, pain; but we have each other to support and love during those times. We also have each other during the good times – celebrations, births, anniversaries, vacations – and the every day, normal routines of life. And I’m learning to be grateful for it all, hopefully finding joy in all circumstances.
Papo, you’ve helped Darren to become the man that he is. Thank you! We, as a family, will continue to follow your instructions. We will love the Lord with our whole hearts and serve Him in whatever we do!