Heather Ricks

Storytelling and Facilitating
A Great Man is Gone

A Great Man is Gone

The world lost a great man this week. He won’t be written about in the New York Times or Time, but for those of us who knew him he probably should be.

He was a man that in some ways I barely knew, but in others would consider one of my best friends. He loved me unconditionally, cared about every mundane thing I did, and was so proud of the woman I became. He made mistakes, and wasn’t very good at verbally apologizing when he’d been mean or hurt someone; but he conveyed so much to me in 33 years with very few words. I’ll remember him as someone who was one of my biggest cheerleaders, who craved human connection, and who loved God so much he couldn’t wait to talk to me about Him. He was someone who could sit and talk with me for hours about a good book, but also who would sit quietly and enjoy reading in the same space without talking. He was animated and warm in a way that is rare. He loved a good fight, and a hard days work.

He was larger than life to me, and I think that’s part of why it’s so hard to accept he is gone. He was a man of his time, someone who kept his feelings very guarded, but he was also a man who quit smoking cold turkey because he didn’t want his kids to smoke. A man who struggled with alcoholism most of my childhood, but broke free of it so he could be present as his grandchildren grew up. A man I knew approved of my choice in husband when he let him drive his truck. A man who’s body was failing his spirit so badly, but he’s finally free of it.

I loved him so much, and I will miss his hugs and kisses. I’ll miss talking about Poe and L’Amour in his living room surrounded by books. I’ll miss seeing him and my grandmother sitting across the living room from me when I visit. I’ll miss hearing him make political commentary that enraged me inside, while I attempt to politely disagree. He’s only been gone a few days, and I feel such a void where he should be, but I also feel hope.

My grandfather died this week, but he believed in God. More than that he knew Him. He spoke with Him and about Him daily. I don’t remember the last time I spoke with him that didn’t involve some reference to his faith in Christ. I know my grandfather is no longer sick, his body is no longer failing him. He is well, and only the people he left behind have any sorrow at his passing.

My grandfather died, and the only thing I can think about every time I get sad is that he doesn’t need his hip replacement anymore. That he’s in heaven, causing havoc and rejoicing in his new condition. He was a man who loved to think and understand. Now he gets to see everything, how it all works and fits together. My grandpa must be loving every second. He’s hanging out with my other mother’s mother, all of my siblings, his family that’s already there, and God. He must be having the best day.

I love him so much, and I’ll miss him constantly forever. I used to hate when he called me scallywag, but I’m going to miss hearing it now.

My grandfather was a great man, and the world is a little less beautiful without him in it.

2 comments found

  1. That’s a beautiful tribute, Heather. Your grandpa would be — no, IS proud.
    I felt similarly when my mom-in-law died nearly 25 years ago. A wonderful woman and great friend. I think of her often and always fondly.
    Ken

    1. Thank you Ken.

      Isn’t it comforting that they don’t ever go completely? That little memory here and there that makes them so present now and then is wonderful.

      My grandmother on my mom’s side passed away 12 years ago, and I still think of her often. I love that I have those memories and thoughts of her. I’ve been very blessed in the grandparent and grandparents-in-law departments. 🙂 So many amazing people shaping our families.

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