The Day After Death


The clock reads 8:58 a.m., yet I feel as though I’ve been stuck in time. Stuck in the moment when my dad called me last Friday night to tell me that Grandpa Jack had died in his favorite chair, magazine in his lap, taking a nap, waiting for the weather to come on TV. Stuck in the moments following when an emergency plane ticket was purchased, a bag haphazardly packed, meals thoughtlessly eaten, airports absent-mindedly traversed.

Now, I perch at my parents’ kitchen table, cup of coffee long ago drained away. Upstairs, my mom is quickly preparing for a day at the hospital. My Grandpa Bill is not doing well, and he needs her.

Yesterday, I ran my fingers along the polished wood of a casket, whispered words of love to my grandpa, told him I would try to finish what he started. He was the rock behind so many of my dreams, the man who did not flinch when I told him that I wanted to use my Journalism degree to teach. “What do we need to do to make that possible?” he asked. He didn’t question, just supported. Sent financial help when he could to help me earn my teaching license. Thanks to his encouragement, I will be completing my master’s in Curriculum & Instruction this summer. I can’t believe he is in the ground. His dust becoming more earth dust. His body mingling with the many witnesses gone on before.

No, I picture him building his mansion in Heaven. My cousin and I agreed that God probably gave him a partially-completed mansion. Grandpa loved projects, loved to be busy, love to apply his incredible engineering skills to everything that he did. Surely, he’s got a project in Heaven.

I couldn’t eat much at the reception. I filled a plate, stared at it, ate some, tasted very little. Cramps cut me in two, refused to release their hold. On the 4 hour drive home, my snacking increased, though M&Ms and Dots ice cream might not have been the best choices. I’m not sure why I remember those little details, but I do. I remember the unknown lady who handed me more kleenex during the funeral. Remember the orange roses by the casket. Remember my grandmother’s blue suit jacket. Remember my boot heels sinking into the soft dirt of the cemetery grounds.

But, Father God, I want to remember You. Want to remember the moments where worship songs filled my heart. Want to remember moments where the Gospel was proclaimed by the sons left behind.

You are my Everything, Jesus. You are my Sustainer. You are my Rock. You hold our times in Your hands. You sing love songs over Your children. Grandpa now knows all those mysteries that I long to understand. He knows and understands the “Why?” questions. He’s joined the cloud of witnesses urging us all forward to lay aside every weight that ensnares us and to run with endurance the race that is set before us. May my life be a sweet offering to You, a worship song for all my days.


I am standing on the sea shore,

A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.

She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her

Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:

“She is gone.”

Gone! Where?

Gone from my sight – that is all.

She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her

And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.

The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me,

not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,

There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:

“There she comes”

~Sent to me by a friend in Germany

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