"He had a good life"
"He's no longer sick."
"He's with our Heavenly Father."
"He's hugging his parents."
"He didn't suffer for very long...God called him home."
All of these are true. All of these bring me a sense of relief and comfort. All of these bring me one more reason to be excited about heaven. I'm sure all of us have felt this way when we bury a grandparent. We have these conflicting feelings of great loss and a "shrug our shoulders" this is the natural cycle of life mentality.
No thoughts change the fact that I buried my Granddaddy, a man who was always bigger than life to me. A fascinating character (and I do mean character) who served his family, his country and his God (not necessarily in that order) until the very end. I thought he was invincible. I thought nothing could get the best of him. I thought I would have him forever. In a way, I'm still a naive little girl.
Last Sunday, he took his last breath. It was an 8 month struggle with Esophogeal Cancer. God granted His mercy. He did not really suffer long before he was called home. This act of God was an answer to a prayer, a plead from our family. God granted our prayer. I am grateful and empty all at the same time. God is understanding. I believe God understands how I miss him. How the thought of not hearing his deep, boisterous, voice on the telephone will hit me little by little over time. He understands that it makes me sad to know we won't have verbal sparring matches when I come to visit. He understands my broken heart that there will be no more visits...not on Earth at least.
I'm not sure that I will ever be able to properly convey how much this man meant to me, so I will simply leave you with a short biography on the life of a great man.
Hal Cooke was born on February 1, 1925 in Boone, North Carolina. He was a Veteran of World War II and Korea. In Korea he flew over 120 combat missions and was decorated accordingly. He was a pilot with Eastern Airlines for over 30 years. He married Polly Godfrey - a very wise decision - and they were three months shy of their 65th wedding anniversary when he passed away last week. He raised three great kids and has a host of grandkids and great grandkids. He was an adventurer. He was intelligent. He was interesting. He had an incredible sense of humor. Most of all, he faced his battle with cancer like a soldier. He never complained. He never cursed God. He died like a true hero.
He was a believer of Jesus Christ and he has now met God. If you remember nothing else, remember this. There is no hopelessness in death when we believe in Christ. I am sad, but not without hope. His journey started and ended before mine...we'll catch up one day. That gives me blessed assurance.