My grandfather passed away last Tuesday and I was in Boston for the funeral. I have mentioned about him earlier also. It was a good time even in sorrow as our whole family got together. I couldn't attend the funeral of my grandparents from my father's side. So it was different and as far as I can remember this was the first funeral service of a close family member which I was attending.
In this post I just thought of adding what I spoke during my grandfathers wake service being the eldest grandson. Here is what I spoke:-
Greetings to all in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am the eldest grandson among the nine grandchildren and I want to say a few words in memory of my grandfather.
My grandfather lived a remarkable life, one that inspired me greatly. When I think of him, first my thoughts go back to my childhood days back in India when during the summer vacations I used to go to my grandparents house along with my sister and 2 other cousins. Everyone who knows my grandfather knows that being an ex military personal he was very strict but at the same time very loving. At one point of time he was the person whom I feared most in the world. But his love was evident in mist of all this.
But for me the most important thing was his role in helping me and my sister to reach where I am now. God really used him during some crucial periods of my life. There was a point in my life when my family had to go through some tough situation and nobody was there for me. At that time it was my grandfather and grandmother who took care of me and my sister. I still remember the times when my grandpa would come to meet me at my boarding school and would leave behind packets of Chocolate with my hostel warden giving instruction to give it to me. There are so many small but significant examples which I can remember which reflected his love and concern for me. I still remember the day when after getting a Job in US and one day before flying out of India, I called him to tell that I am going. He was very happy for me and mentioned that it was his prayer and concern for since I was the only one out of all his grandchildren who was in India. He was very happy and I could feel his joy and gratitude towards God during that conversation.
Out of all the events which happened recently, 2 would always be there in my memory and I will cherish it for a long time. The first one was the conversation I had with him 1 week before he was hospitalized. Normally whenever I call he will not speak too much but would allow my grandma to do most of the talking and he would hear and give some comments here and there. But that day it was different. He picked up the phone and spoke with me for sometime before calling my grandma and handing over the phone to her. I was unusual and I even called my mother later to tell that Appachen i.e. my grandpa spoke for a longer time with me. I will remember most of the things we spoke that day as that was my last conversation with him.
The following Monday I got the shocking news that he is admitted in hospital in a serious condition. I took the early morning flight from MN with the prayer that God will give me at least a chance to see him alive once. Indeed I could see him in ICU. The next 2 days spent in the hospital where tense and I spent most of the time reflecting on the old days I had with my grandpa. Thursday night was unique as I asked God if He can give me one chance so that I can go back with the peace that my grandpa saw me after a long time and at least speak to him with some response back from him. Many people were praying for him. Friday evening God gave the answer to the prayers. He was out of vent for 3-4 hrs and we had a great time. That was one of the most joyful moments in my life. I will cherish that moment for a long time as it was both an answer to my prayer and an opportunity to talk to my grandpa and see him responding.
Out of all his grand children, I may be the one who has spent least amount of time with him especially during the recent years due to various reasons, but I am thankful to God that I was blessed with a wonderful grandfather who above everything constantly prayed for me. I could learn from other people that He was very happy about the Spiritual activities with which I am involved and spoke to others with great honor about it. That was always encouraging and will remain as an encouraging factor in coming days also.
One more things which make me specially thank God at this time is the fact that at this occasion the whole family could be here. Four Children and their families could spent time with him during his last days and everybody could be here on this occasion. I am sure that its a great blessing and our whole family is thankful to god for that.
Before concluding I would like to read few verses from the Bible. The scripture portion comes from I Thessalonians 4:13-18. It’s from NLT translation
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
I will miss my grandfather dearly. But I will treasure his memory forever.