Sometimes I look back and try to remember them. My grandparents (on my mother's side) died my freshman year of college, within a four month window of each other. I try to remember them, and wish I could talk to them now. I have some regrets looking back, which doesn't help much now. We moved back to Michigan to be close to them, the summer I was fifteen. I was excited about the move, but sometimes I resented going up to see them so much on the weekends. I wanted to do stuff with friends, be involved in our own area.
But I also loved them dearly. I have so many found memories of their farm. Growing up, my cousins and I would build forts in the trees lining the pastures. We'd play huge games of hide and seek in the outbuildings. Or spend hours riding our bikes in the driveway. Later, my grandparents bought a little golf cart, and we'd ride it up and down the hills, exploring the corners of the land. Sunshine, rain, snow, we forded all sorts of conditions to get outside in that little golf cart.
My grandparents taught me a lot about love. My how they loved. Their house was always brimming over with cousins, in laws, distant family members, and a family they ran into at the grocery store.
They never had much money, but they always gave, the extent to which we didn't know until after they were gone.
I counted once, growing up, and their were thirteen of us cousins at the time. Thirteen! It's rather sad to think that we've all gone such different directions now. That it's been years upon years since we've been together, in the same place.
My grandparents valued family, so we were all expected to be there for holidays, overflowing the dining table to the card table, and even into the garage one Thanksgiving!
They weren't perfect people by any means, but they loved Jesus. They took some time to get there, but they both believed in His blood that was shed for their sins.
I'm thankful for the influence, big and small, that they had on me. The footsteps they left for me to travel in.
My grandfather was a history buff, a passion he often shared with me, spending hours pouring over genealogy spreadsheets with me.
My grandmother was a baby lover, everyone's favorite babysitter, a singer, love of Turner Classic movies.
Without realizing it, they've left me a lot.
I know they'd love my husband, and my babies. They'd be so proud of the military service my husband does for his country, they'd be flashing pictures of their great-grandkids to strangers at the grocery store, telling them all about the next generation.
They were just like that.
What a legacy.
What a heritage.
What beautiful memories to preserve.
And how thankful I am that I'll get to hug them again someday.