When I visited Grandpa last month, I told him if it was at all possible, I would be home for Christmas.
Since I made that promise, I have learned that I am scheduled to work December 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27th. I'm not really sure when I'm going to celebrate Christmas.
Grandpa went to be with the Lord on Thanksgiving, so now I guess it's a bit of a moot point. (Toss in the fact that this is probably the last week that the airlines will allow me to fly, and you've got an interesting situation.) So instead of flying back for Christmas, Brian and I flew back to Washington for his funeral.
The funeral was Friday, and I've rarely had such a good time. I shed some tears when they sang "The Way of the Cross Leads Home," but it was alright. I know that Grandpa is with the Lord, and few things can compare with that. I miss him horribly, but he was in such poor health these last few months that I'm glad he's finally at peace.
When my friend Travis was killed in Afghanistan two years ago, I had a great deal of trouble understanding his death: What does it mean to say that someone is "with the Lord?" The traditional imagery of clouds and harps and insipid angels left over from the Victorian era didn't help in the slightest.
Then I had a dream where I saw Travis and some of my other friends who'd died playing poker with Jesus. And while that metaphor undoubtedly would make many people a bit queasy, if you knew Travis at all, you'd know that it fits.
Grandpa was never one for cards, but he loved hunting and fishing. I don't know what forms of entertainment there are in heaven, but I do know he is enjoying himself immensely.