Monday, July 7, 2014

On Death & Life

Death has a way of shedding light on the living.

My husband's grandpa, Tommye D Taylor, who is best known as Papaw around here, passed away Saturday, June 28. He lived 87 years full of loving, serving, making deals in the transportation world, traveling to do business in all sorts of places, and dreaming up all kinds of ideas. We celebrated his life this past week with a visitation on Tuesday evening and the funeral and burial on Wednesday afternoon.

Even those events had his ideas all over them.

Papaw had given many family and friends personalized shovels so we could bury him the day he died. Well, he ended up agreeing to a traditional funeral not long before he passed away, but we used the shovels as he intended.

I wish I had counted how many people had the shovels with their name and relation to Tommye engraved along the red handle. There were many. Papaw loved people more than anything and his people showed up to celebrate him.

Probably not coincidentally, I'm reading "In Light of Eternity" by Randy Alcorn with my small group from church. Thinking about the heavenly reunion between Papaw and Greg's dad, Gary, best known as Granddaddy, gives me a new perspective of heaven. Granddaddy died unexpectedly more than four years ago.

While we miss both these men here, the faith they lived out assures us their deaths weren't the end. 

"Death is life's greatest certainty. Death will come whether or not you're prepared. But death is not an end; it's a transition that will bring us face to face with our Creator."
{Randy Alcorn in "In Light of Eternity"}

Earthly death and the mourning that comes with it prompts thinking of what's eternal and what really matters here.

Every day, but especially in light of death, I'm grateful for community that is lived out in simple ways: A friend grocery shopping for me at 8 pm. A friend bringing me a meal one night and watching my kids the next. Laughing while playing a board game with cousins. A friend who shows up even when her life is hard.

With this great-grandfather and grandfather not in my kids' lives anymore, I'm thankful there are other grandfatherly men around us to influence my kids and encourage my husband. Yes, they left gaps in our lives, but they left a legacy we're ready to share and live.

And there is peace in knowing Christ promises this life isn't the end for those who believe in him {John 3:16}. Now that's something for which we should live.

I'm linking up this post with the weekly Soli Deo Gloria Gathering and Thought-Provoking Thursday.

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  1. Elizabeth Anne May7/07/2014 1:08 PM

    Thanks for sharing your perspective here. A dear friend is facing this with her son, who's battling cancer. They have been in my thoughts most of today, so your words were welcome reminders of the amazing promise of heaven.

  2. KristinHillTaylor7/07/2014 1:11 PM

    I saw your post this morning. I can't imagine. Praying for your friend and her family. I'm glad you found some hope here.

  3. Theresa @ Heavenly Glimpses7/07/2014 9:11 PM

    First, I am sorry for the loss of your loved ones here on earth. I love the quote by Randy Alcorn with the reminder that death is not the end, but a transition. What a beautiful hope we have in Christ. Thank you for sharing!

  4. bluecottonmemory7/07/2014 9:13 PM

    I am so sorry for your loss! Papaws are so special - we miss my husband's dad every day - and all 13 grandsons so loved him! What a blessing when God sends us spiritual mothers and fathers to help us on our journey home!

  5. I'm sorry for the loss you and your family are adjusting to right now! This week would have been my father-in-law's 61st birthday, but he passed suddenly in February, so we are navigating the difficult first big event without him with my mom-in-law right now. We are making it a week of celebrating and doing things that we would have had fun doing together, and I loved the story of Papaw with the shovels. Getting to carry out those little ways of honoring the memories and fun personalities of those we have loved and lost is truly a gift in the midst of grief. Thanks also for mentioning the book. I will absolutely check it out and share it with my family. I will be praying for you!

  6. KristinHillTaylor7/08/2014 7:44 AM

    Thank you. And, yes, it's so good we can learn from those who have lived in front of us.

  7. KristinHillTaylor7/08/2014 7:53 AM

    Thanks, Kelly. My father-in-law passed away suddenly at 58 in April 2010 so I understand what you're going through. Hoping you all continue to have peace as you celebrate your father-in-law's legacy. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

  8. KristinHillTaylor7/08/2014 7:54 AM

    That Randy Alcorn book is a good one and God knew what he was doing because I'm reading it at such a perfect time.

  9. Kristin, I was saddened and shocked to hear that Tommye passed away. I had the pleasure of meeting Tommye back in 1998 and through the years he became to me a great friend. I heard that he was slowing down but did not expect this. About three or four months ago I received a call from him late in the evening. I found it strange for him to call so late but as we spoke he shared that he had been in the hospital and was concerned about his health. He told me how much he appreciated me and just wanted to say hello. When I hung up the phone I felt he wanted to say goodbye. Tommye was a friend to many, anyone I spoke to that knew him felt that they were special.
    Tommye was an insiration to me.
    The back of his business card says it all.....

    He lived his life looking ahead to seeing Jesus face to face. PERHAPS TODAY Jesus may return!
    Frank Rousu

  10. This is such an amazing tribute to Tommye. The shovel thing blows my mind -- what care and concern he had for his family and friend. That is such a legacy...a beautiful example of Christ's love.

  11. KristinHillTaylor7/08/2014 4:05 PM

    Honestly, we all thought the shovel thing was crazy because it's been discussed (and shovels ordered!) for years, but it turned out to be so him and so appropriate. :) I certainly married into a family that cares about legacy, and for that I'm so grateful.

  12. KristinHillTaylor7/08/2014 4:06 PM

    Hi, Frank. Thanks for commenting here. I'm glad you got to have that phone conversation with him. He was ready to heaven and wanted to have final conversations with as many people as he could on this earth. And, hey, I met him in 1998 too when I started dating one of his grandsons. :)

  13. Hi Kristin! Please accept my condolences on the death of your dear Papaw. How well loved he was! And he has inspired you to love every friend and family member, and your friends too. I think he'd be very proud of that, don't you?
    From Thought Provoking Thursday,

  14. KristinHillTaylor7/10/2014 11:46 AM

    Yes, indeed. Thanks, Ceil.

  15. Jody Ohlsen Collins7/10/2014 8:46 PM

    Kristin, you were blessed to be able to participate in the passing of your 'Papaw' in a very full way-those shovels sound like a wonderful idea. You're right--death is as much a part of life as life is :-)

  16. KristinHillTaylor7/10/2014 8:58 PM

    You're so right. Thanks for reading, Jody!