June 28, 2014

Grandpa Luke

I'm so proud to have called Bill Luke "grandpa" for 11 1/2 years. He loved his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren so well. Words can't express how thankful I am for the legacy he left and the forever-impact that it's had on our family. We're thankful that he's healed, whole and with Jesus, but we miss him tremendously.

He passed away on Father's Day.  He had the ultimate Father's Day with his heavenly Father, I suppose.  It's still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that he's gone.  His trailer still sits on his campsite at camp, and I catch myself glancing over to see if he's sitting out in his lounge chair.

I think his passing will really sink in for me during Family Camp when he's not hauling coffee to the tents and I don't have him down the hall from my office counting offering or calling me with service attendance numbers.

Long before Kyle and I were married, engaged or even dating, I referred to his grandpa as "Gramps."  Everyone who worked at camp did.  Back then, he and grandma took care of all of the gardening and flowers, but I think their primary role was getting to know the staff and making us all feel loved.

My grandpas and one of my grandmas passed away before Kyle and I were married.  My Grandpa Haskin died when I was 4, my grandma Haskin died when I was 11, and my Grandpa Wietholter died a few months before Kyle and I were engaged.  So when I joined Kyle's family, I was more than thankful for another set of grandparents.  And from day one, I felt like I was one of their own.

One of my favorite memories about Grandpa Luke might be the night Kyle and I got engaged. He was so excited for us . . . but he kept telling everyone, "I'm going to be a great grandpa!" We had to keep reminding him that sharing the news that way was going to give people the wrong idea, but it didn't stop him. He was just so proud he was of his grandchildren and was just as proud (5 years later) of his great grandchildren.

We remembered Grandpa Luke at a memorial service yesterday and it was beautiful.  It was packed out with people who had been influenced by Kyle's grandparents in some way.  I was so overwhelmed with the fact that there was no mistake as to what Grandpa Luke's life was all about.

Kyle and I talked on the way home about his grandpa's legacy and how we can be intentional about passing that on to our children.  How can we live in a way that leaves them with no questions about what our lives are about?  We're grateful for Grandpa's life, and for how much he loved Jesus.  We're thankful for the example he and Grandma set in their 60 years of marriage and his faithfulness to her, even as her memory has faded over the last few years and she was moved to a nursing home.

We gave the option of whether or not to come into the service with us and he chose to.  It was very emotional for him, but I'm glad that he did.  I'm thankful that he got to hear about his great grandpa and the things that were important to him.  I ended up having to get up and sit in the back with Claire because she wasn't all that excited about staying in the nursery, so I'm glad that Kyle had Jack there with him. 

When we sang "How Great Thou Art" Claire's eyes lit up and she said, "I LOVE THIS SONG!"  And then we we closed with the doxology, she belted it out just like she does at bedtime. Claire will have no memory of Grandpa Luke, and Ben's memories will be sparse, but the legacy he left for them will be something that we never let them forget.

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