I grew up far away from my Grandparents, yet I’ve been so blessed to know, love, and have very special relationships with ALL of them. Despite the distance, we’ve always been close. I have so many wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.
When I got the news that my Dad’s father, Grandpa Smith, had been sick for the last month or so and was sent home with hospice, while I hoped he would recover, I knew in my heart that he was ready to meet his maker. He was so uncomfortable and in pain at the end and though his mind was always very sharp, his body had failed him. And on Monday, March 28, 2011 he was finally able to let go of the pain and be at peace. He was 87 years old, loved beyond measure and a shining example of a hardworking, caring, sweet and kind hearted man. I loved him so very, very much. He had the gentlest spirit and heart of anyone I know.
This was the first time I’ve really had to deal with the death of someone I love so dearly. The comfort for me came in his devotion to Christ, the love that he had passed down to his entire family, and knowing that he lives on forever in me and in my children.
The Smiths are from a very small town in Missouri. Actually, ALL of my Dad’s side of the family still lives in the same area. I think the last census put King City, MO at about 1,000 people. That’s a crazy thought for a city girl like me. But every time I’m there, it just feels like home. And if it wasn’t for growing up a military brat, it probably would be my home today.
Tim and Mitchell weren’t able to come out for the funeral, but I was lucky to have my parents there and Megan too.
The viewing and the services were overflowing with emotion and love. My Grandfather served in World War II during the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and liberation of Paris and was given the most beautiful and touching service. It was so wonderful to see how many lives he really effected with his kindness and generosity. My Grandfather was also bit of a prankster, so it was a bit ironic that he was actually laid to rest on April 1st.
All of the Grandsons were pall bearers and wore my Grandfather’s signature overalls in his honor for the service. It was a rarity to see Grandpa Smith in anything but his Big Smith overalls. I know he was smiling down from heaven at the site of it.
This is my Grandma Smith enjoying one her many grandchildren. She and my Grandfather were married for 62 years. I know that she had some comfort being surrounded by the family that she and my Grandfather created together.
I remember riding on my Grandfather’s John Deere tractor in a parade. I swear I wasn’t much bigger than her.
After the services we went back to the house where everyone congregated. This scene is so very, very familiar to me from all of the time I spent in the summer visiting when I was a child.
The day after the services, I decided to take Megan out for a photo excursion in King City. I’ve found that taking photographs is good for my soul. And there is so much character in that town (and in my little girl).
On Sunday, our last day, the entire family went to my Grandparent’s church. The pastor was so happy to see so many of the Smith family in his pews.
After church, my Dad and his two brothers went out to the property where they grew up. The house isn’t there anymore, but an old barn and other remnants are still standing. It was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Just watching the brothers reminiscing about their childhood and pointing out where things used to be or where they used to run around was incredible. I think it might have been the first time in a long time that they all talked much about their brother Bill who was killed in Vietnam. My Grandpa would have been so proud to see his boys coming together like they did.