saying goodbye

It makes me so sad to write this post–my sweet Grandpa Hamilton died yesterday morning. He was 96. Can we just stop and say 96?! He was such a wonderful man. It breaks my heart to think he is gone–but I am so thankful and grateful to God for the time I got with him and that he didn’t suffer.

Grandpa with the pen BJ’s dad made for him out of wood BJ had sent him from my Grandpa’s farm. He kept saying over & over, “Well, isn’t that something.”

Up until just a few months ago, he’s been living on his own, driving his truck. Now, you didn’t want to get behind him on the highway or it would’ve taken you triple the time to get there–but still–who gets to live such a full life for so long?

I could go on and on about all of his wonderful traits & talents.

  • Dad, husband, grandpa–loving
  • Farmer–the hardest worker I have ever known. Up until a few years ago he was still driving his tractor
  • Gardener
  • Crocheter (is that a word?!)
  • Carver

I spent most of my time with my Granny & Grandpa growing up (apart from my parents of course). They lived right up the road from us my whole life. When we were there it was all about us kids. They played Skip-Bo, pool, Granny let us dress up in all of her clothing & jewelry, Grandpa would let us comb his hairs. I just have really great memories.

When BJ & I started praying about moving back to Kansas, being around my grandparents was a very big factor (at that time my Granny was still alive). I am soo thankful we moved when we did and got to spend this past year getting to know & appreciate my Grandpa more. He loved the kids so much–and BJ, too–he had BJ take him to Wal-Mart to get him new shoes! Precious. And BJ loved him. Just a few nights ago BJ took Shiloh on a whim to go down to see Grandpa one evening. It blesses my heart to know he loved him as much as I did.

My Grandpa had so many great stories. One of the neatest stories he ever told was about how when he was 8 years old he got kicked in the head by a horse. Living in such a small rural community the closest hospital was in Kansas City. So his family flagged down a train and the train took him to Kansas City to the hospital–something completely unheard of. He almost died but miraculously survived. My Great Grandma was so sure he was going to die that she saved the shirt he was wearing that day for all those years. After she passed away when my family was going through her house they pulled out that shirt and it practically disintegrated because of the blood. She didn’t want to wash it to do anything to take away from it reminding her of him–just in case. I have never heard my Grandpa tell this story without crying.

Years later as he was in WWII and about to be shipped off to fight the doctor noticed that scar on his head. He was told he wouldn’t be able to fight in the war because of that previous injury. He was devastated. However, the Lord had His hand on my Grandpa. His troop was sent to fight in a battle you might know–the Battle of the Bulge–and not many of his men ever made it back to American soil. Isn’t it amazing to think about how the Lord uses things in our lives? I am sure my Great Grandma Hamilton could’ve never imagined what good could come out of her almost losing her only child–and yet that injury saved his life further down the road.

The thing I have become most proud of as an adult is the legacy of farming my family has. My family has farmed for generations and the one thing the Lord has showed me over and over is the HONOR in this livelihood. My Grandpa referred to himself as a “country boy” but I know there is much more to the life he led than that. My Dad still lives on the piece of property that my family homesteaded back in the 1860’s before Kansas was even declared a state–how cool is that?! And I have the trunk they carried on a wagon on their move to the Kansas Territory. What a legacy!

My Granny was the sweetest person I’ve ever known. She was so giving & loving and sacrificial. When I was overseas & living away from home my Granny was so faithful to write me almost every other week to tell me the latest news and what they were up to. I just came across those letters the other day and it blessed me to reread them. She made the best rolls & gooseberry pie–two of my favorite things. She was so crafty and I know that much of the interest I have in artsy things can be attributed to all she taught me to do when we were there with her.

my beautiful Granny

My Granny & Grandpa were precious, precious people. I know everyone loses Grandparents and people much closer to them–a child, a spouse. But this is my reality right now and despite the fullness of life experienced, I am missing some amazing people I’ve been blessed to call family. I am grateful to God that He taught me to treasure my Grandparents. Grateful that years ago when the Lord got ahold of my life I had a great conversation with my Granny where I was assured of both she & my Grandpa’s salvation. I am grateful that during his final days I was able to stroke his arm and just sit in his room and give him water, and most amazingly, pray over a 96 year old precious soul. As he drank that water and it was all he wanted in the end I couldn’t help but think about the living water we receive as Christians. My soul has been refreshed over and over and over from the LIFE Jesus offers.

their wedding picture

(this is the last picture I have of the kids with Grandpa, taken in June. Shiloh is holding her favorite toy of Grandpa’s–his magnifying glass!)

I was so touched by our sweet kids loving on Grandpa. They aren’t afraid of the Nursing Home–they lovesaying hi to all the sweet people there–Grandpa, George, Madeline, Mary Ann and others they’ve befriended. As Grandpa lay there sweet Shiloh was rubbing his arm and face and he kept reaching out to her. How soothing must’ve the touch of a sweet child been in his final hours? Precious Judah chose to sit with Grandpa instead of going with the others to look at the birds because he, “wanted to stay and be with Grandpa”. He offered Grandpa a drink which he gladly took. It melted my heart. And of course Zoe was right there rubbing my back, crying with me as I prayed with Grandpa, asking the Lord to give him peace. I am constantly blessed & amazed by the fresh faith and innocence of children.

So now, BJ & I get the honor of moving into his house to rent from my Aunt & Uncle. We are beyond humbled by this–it’s truly a gift from God. To get to live in a house that holds so many sweet memories for me is an amazing blessing.

His funeral is on Monday and if you think about it, pray for us. BJ & I are singing at the funeral “Arise & Be Comforted”. And most of all, pray for my Dad–I know he’s taking it hard.

8 thoughts on “saying goodbye

  1. you did such a great job of putting into words everything that i have head over the last few days. i laughed when you said your grandpa let you comb his “hairs” so cute, grandpas sometimes only have a few. and the story about the kids makes me smile all over again. you guys will do great at the funeral because of the love coming out of your heart. see you soon.

  2. Dear Aubin,

    Grandparents are such special people and it is always very hard to loose them. It doesn’t matter how old we are or how old they are, it still is very hard. Your Grandparents were wonderful people and they did leave a tremendous legacy. I’m also very thankful you were able to be back in Kansas so you and your family could spend time with your grandparents before they were gone. It is great your kids got to know your Grandpa before he was gone. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers. I love you all.
    Aunt Patty

  3. I wish i could have just met him once and hugged him. I am so thankful that you had the time with him that you did.

  4. Oh, girl, I so understand how you feel. I felt exactly the same way when my Grandpa passed away. He was an amazing person! Thanks for putting into words the thoughts I have often had in my own life about my Grandpa. My sister sang at his funeral. It was a song about Flying to Jesus and it was so beautiful. God knows, there is no way I could sing at my Grandpa’s funeral because I cried the whole time, so on that note I’ll pray you guys get through your song! 🙂

    Love ya!

  5. aubin…i am so sorry to hear about your loss. i will keep your family in my prayers as you move through this difficult time.
    may GOD be near to you and carry you during times that are too hard too bear.

  6. My sweet, sweet Aubin- I shouldn’t have read this while at work because now I’m crying. It blessed me so much for you kids to have the most wonderful grandparents in Granny and Grampa and I aagree with you, Dora was the sweetest person I have ever met. You continue to amaze me how you can put your feelings and thoughts into words. I KNOW you were such a blessing to Granny and Grampa and how much they treasured you – and I do, too. I love you.

  7. Aubin, We were on vacation when we got the call that David had passed away. I am so sorry for your loss. Please let your Dad know that we have prayed for him as well. I know the loss of precious grandparents and also precious parents. God is faithful to comfort. Aren’t memories the greatest!!! I am reminded of all the wonderful times that Jodie had with Ali at their house. They always did such fun things with the girls. She always brought home some carved treasure or artsy thing they had made. They were precious and shall be missed.

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