For Saturday, when I will be unable to attend my grandfather’s memorial service. Either my dad or brother will be reading this for me.
I’m sorry I’m not here physically today. But know that I am in spirit. More than that, I’m here in writing, which was our thing. So, in many ways, I am perhaps more here than I could be any other way.
Speaking of ways, If I got to have things my way, one day not too far away, there’d be a picture of you standing next to me in a big, pretty white dress. And then, a few years later, there’d be a picture of you holding my first child, reading him or her a book. Just like the picture I have of you reading to me, 28 years ago. If I got to have things my way, I would have visited you one more time. Said I love you one more time, and thanked you for giving me the gift of writing.
So, I’m thanking you now, and believing that you know. From as long ago as I can remember, I’ve loved to tell stories. I don’t know where else I got this from, but you, and the Good Lord. I remember talking to you about writing, and building good stories, and creativity. You were, in many ways, my first narrative teacher. And that instilled in me a love for the written word that persists today in many facets, both in the classroom as a teacher of literature, and at home on my computer as a blogger and journal-er.
You taught me how to use my writing not just to express imagination though, but to illuminate truth. You modeled this through your own writing, as you sent me CD-Roms full of novels, plays, and scripts you were working on, and hoping to publish. You helped me see the art and subtlety of using narrative to explain greater spiritual realities. It’s my desire one day to publish something of this nature, and to place your name after the copyright page. Writing was more than just a hobby for which you had a natural penchant, it was a mission. As I get older, I am beginning to understand how that mission may have left me with an inheritance.
Some of my fondest memories are listening to you tell me old World War II stories over the phone. I was inspired to write a 40’s novel, complete with spies, and little did I know you had some secrets of your own to share in that conversation. I remember thinking, “My grandpa is the coolest,” after hearing that you worked with intelligence for the British MI-5. Perhaps it’s because you’re such a good story-teller, or perhaps because you have a flair for the dramatic, or perhaps just because you wanted to get a rise out of your dear old granddaughter and were still dreaming of some old bygone glory days, but your sense of adventure was contagious and inspiring.
I am thankful that the last time I saw you, I got to hear the story of your trip to America from Germany when you were 6, and to see the pictures of the ship you arrived on. Next time I got to New York, I can look up our family in the Ellis Island registry, put my finger on the page (covered by glass of course), and be thankful that a long time ago, a family set sail for the United States. And sometime after that, you met a woman, married her, had my dad, and then read to a little girl who grew to love books, and words, and the power and beauty of language.
I can’t wait to hear stories of heaven one day. Until then, I will keep writing, remembering, and being thankful for your part in my story.
I love you, Grandpa.