Every day since I’ve come back from China I’ve worn a golden bracelet. It’s not very fancy. Just a golden chain with my name engraved on the front and 9-14-91 etched on the back. That’s when my grandpa married for the second time. I’ve worn it to honor him, to honor his legacy.
Two weeks ago, my grandpa passed away. He was 86 years old. In some ways, it didn’t come as a surprise. His health had been declining for a while, and his heart was growing weaker, causing fluid to build up in his lungs. He had been in hospice for more than a month, and some days were better than others. But gradually his energy declined, and often we would have to feed him ourselves. On his better days, he would talk to his friends and family for hours. On his worse days, he would sleep for most of the day and barely have the energy to move from his bed. We all knew the end was coming. But it wasn’t any easier when it came, especially for someone you love.
My grandpa loved football, especially the Eagles. In high school, he was the star of the football team. He didn’t pursue football in college, but his passion for the game never died. Whether it was going to Eagles training camp or taping any game he missed, he was immersed in football. And the game wasn’t enough. He would faithfully watch the pre-game and post-game analyses of the matches. The owl may have been his favorite bird, but the eagle wasn’t far behind.
My grandpa loved his family. He had five sons and three daughters, two of whom were adopted in Brazil. His family meant everything to him, and he would constantly stay updated on what was happening in their lives. He would always have everyone over for the holidays. I remember when all the relatives would come to his house for a holiday feast, and he would lift both his hands to get everyone’s attention and then pray for the meal. He was a loving, humble man who always encouraged me and gave me wise advice. He was an honest man who didn’t act like someone he wasn’t.
My grandpa loved God. Every day when he woke up he would pray, “Lord as I take up my cross today to follow you, please control my life today to do your will in everything I say and do.” Proverbs 3:5-6 were his life verses, and he lived by them. In the beginning of his memoir, he dedicated his story to God’s glory and to Jesus his Lord. He recognized God’s sovereignty through his life and said that “through the good times and bad times, through sinful experiences and trusting obedience” God has directed his life. He was a man who trusted God even when he was in pain and couldn’t care for himself anymore. He believed in God’s goodness.
I loved my grandpa, and I will miss him. I will miss his wise, encouraging advice. I will miss his gentle, warm embraces. I will miss his absence from holidays and birthdays.
I still wear that golden bracelet each day. For me, it is how I remember him. And one day, if God wills, I will give it to my son so that we will never forget the man who raised my dad and his siblings, loved his grandkids, and loved God. He was my grandpa, and we are his legacy.