Hard to Forget…

Yesterday marked the 47th anniversary of the death of my paternal grandfather, Jacob Toussaint. I have written about him several times before, but he is really in my thoughts the past several days for many reasons. First of all, although his technical cause of death was pneumonia, it was the result of his wandering off from the nursing home where he resided when he finally moved into a facility to assist with his Alzheimer’s. My grandmother, bless her heart, had done as much as she could to help him and deal with his diminishing capacity as she took care of him at home. I think the final straw was when he started handing out checks to “nice” people and kept turning the heat on in the middle of summer.

It was the first time that I was around someone who suffered from this awful infirmity and although I didn’t see it up close and personal, it was close enough for me. I watched as my grandfather progressively forgot the names of his grandchildren and, finally, even the names of his own children (my Dad and his brothers) and even my grandmother. Grandpa kept referring to my grandmother as a nice lady, but he certainly didn’t recognize her as his wife. That must have been brutal for her. Even as his capacity diminished, she still loved and cared for him – her husband of more than 50 years.

During the Christmas holidays, another man I know passed away from complications associated with Alzheimer’s as well. He was a nice gentleman who was the father-in-law to our daughter Kristin. In other words, he and I shared Kristin’s children as our common grandchildren. We were both grandfathers. And during the week-end, we received a wonderful note from his wife, Judy, expressing her thankfulness that the boys still had a grandfather… As nice as it was, the note really brought home the focus of how important generational influence is on our families.

Here I am tonight, recalling my own grandparents and in the last several days I have been reminded that I am the only living grandfather for three grandsons here locally as well as our one grandchild in Oklahoma; Drew, the son of our daughter Jill. Honestly, this is the first time I have really considered all this. So I have gone from remembering my own grandfather to realizing that I am the only remaining grandfather two generations later. How strange…

With all this comes the responsibility to make sure all the boys still get mentored in the right way. Moms and grandmothers are indispensable but there are some things best taught by a grandfather. That’s where I come in. The verse for tonight reminds us about staying true to the coming generations. It confirms that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – in fact, for generations to come. It’s up to us to carry that message of consistency. From Deut. 7:9, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

My encouragement this evening is that life goes on – and God is still on the throne. He is a God of love, compassion and enduring presence in our lives. In fact, for those of us who believe in Him, it is a relationship that will never end – we have God’s promise on that. My prayer is that you will set a great example for the upcoming generations and continue to affirm the constancy of God in our lives – forever. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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