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Goodbye, Grandfather

Posted by on April 22, 2013

It’s been one of those weeks (months?) where I seem to be jumping from crisis to crisis. Thankfully, God has provided sunshine, dear family and friends, and enough chocolate chip cookies to see me through.

Last week, I went home to celebrate his life and mourn the loss of my Grandfather. This week, my heart aches for those injured, killed or traumatized by the bombing in Boston. I feel sadness and desperation for the victims of the Iranian and Chinese earthquakes and the bombing in Bangalore, India.

As I think about the loss of life, I can’t help but realize how precious and fleeting life on earth is. I want to capture each moment and embrace the beauty of each giggle, each shared conversation and each hug. Today, I’d like to celebrate the life of my Grandfather.

Born in Pennsylvania, Grandfather worked hard to be the first in his family to go to college. He earned an engineering degree from Cornell and married Nan. Within a few years, they had 6 children!

To get to the part I know, we’ll have to fast forward a generation, to when his kids had kids.

photo 5

Grandfather and Nan made it a point to be present in our lives. They would visit us on birthdays, even bringing the non-birthday boy/girl presents. Of course, by the time my parents had their 5th kid, this tradition stopped.


In case you’re wondering, that’s me, screaming my head off in Grandfather’s capable arms.

As young kids, we would often visit Nan and Grandfather’s house, digging through their basement to find suitable outfits for putting on plays. Grandfather always made sure we had an audience.

photo 1

Family and history were both important to Grandfather. He gathered his kids and their families regularly for holidays, reunions and vacations in the mountains. And of course, there would always be a family picture taken for posterity!

photo 2

About two years ago, Varun and I were visiting Grandfather and we shared with him how we moved into our neighbourhood intentionally to love and serve our neighbours. He gave us this admonition, “Never forget the elderly. Sometimes they’re lonely and don’t have family nearby. Offer to help them get groceries or go and visit them”. As we’ve gotten to know our elderly neighbours, Grandfather’s words echo in my head, urging me to love them as if they were my own Grandparents.

photo 3

During the viewing, funeral and conversations with family, I had a glimpse into Grandfather’s life and character. He was a hard-working man who loved fun, loved friends, loved his family and loved God. It was a joy to know him and be loved by him; he will be greatly missed.


May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

2 Responses to Goodbye, Grandfather

  1. Jennifer

    What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. I signed up to follow your blog a couple days ago. I’ve been married to a Sri Lankan for 8–almost 9 years–and am always interested in meeting others in a similiar situation. šŸ™‚

  2. Pat Reilly

    Amelia, what a beautiful tribute to your grandfather and the entire family! Your Aunt Kathy is a very good friend of mine. I always enjoyed your grandparents, and my parents and grandparents knew your grandparents very well. You will always have great memories of your grandfather and the love of your family!! Best to you!

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