Dear Gramps,
I wish this letter would be one that you would actually be reading, and I can see your grin now as you finish reading a letter from "your girl."  I honestly can't remember life without you and the memories that we shared are countless. As a little girl I remember coming to your house and giggling with Grandma while I wanted to play "home alone", dress-up, babies, and all the other little things I found to be so amusing as a little girl. You would just watch us and laugh. Coming to visit you both was always the best. When you moved to Vero, I got to spend lots of time at your house. Sleep overs, with a small pallet made for me by Grandma at the foot of your bed was something you laughed at but soon accepted as a normal part of our sleep over routine. I even had my very own closet at your house full of toys you guys bought for me and I think it was you that bought me my very first fishing pole and tackle box. I wasn't quite as patient as you, and I don't think I ever will be, but you taught me about patience. As a little girl when I was at your house in the mornings, I will never forget sitting in the den with you and Grandma while you did your morning devotions. While I didn't appreciate it as a little girl, as a 25 year old, I see this completely different. I remember hearing you both pray for each family member by name. Not in a group, not quick, general prayers, but instead specific prayers for each one of us, including me. I cannot imagine the countless hours you spent praying for me and I won't even begin to guess as to how they may be a part of who I am today. You were always the best at making me feel loved because you cared about my life and what was going on. I could always count on you to ask me how work and school were going. In fact, the last time we saw each other, you told me you were upset that we didn't have time to chat about how my work was going. Each time you saw me, called me, or wrote in a card, I never questioned how you felt about me or wondered if I was special to you. I don't know how many games, concerts, or services you sat through to support me in just about everything I was into, and I know you were one of my biggest fans. While life was never the same after Grandma left us, there was something so sweet, and invaluable in our talks about our time together with her and to hear that I am even somewhat like her might be the biggest compliment you ever gave me. You were always strong in your beliefs and held true to all that you believed but never once was I not able to speak my mind or share my heart, and you would without a doubt hear me out. While life changed drastically after the love of your life, and one of my favorite people in all the world passed, I saw something in you that I admired so much. You gave of yourself in ways that literally at times put you in a place of exhaustion, but you were true to what you said you would do and be and whatever that meant, you did. You were always the person who prayed at meal time and before we left each other as we gathered our hands in a circle to pray. I'm so glad I got to hear you do this one last time. I had no idea that the last time I saw you would be the last time. Your hugs, and walking us out the door and down to the car were always dreaded moments for me, as I hate goodbyes, but our last goodbye is engrained deeply in my thoughts now that it was our final goodbye. After one, two, and a three hugs with an I love you each time, I remember telling you, "I'll see you soon Gramps, I love you." With a gentle reply from you "I'll see you soon Beth, I love you." I didn't know that was going to be the last time I would see you and quite honestly, I wanted so badly for you to fill one of the front row seats at my wedding in 4 months as I know you woulda been so proud and happy for me to see your last grandchild get married. While I am hurt that you will not be there, I am thankful for the sweet gift of the time we shared together, our last time, when you told Andrew that you wanted him to know he was a part of our family and that as far as you were concerned, there were no "in-laws" in our family and that he was your grandson. That meant more to me than you will ever know and I will cherish that sweet moment for the rest of my life. You told me the last time we were together to "give you a great grand-baby" and while I said slow down just a bit and we both laughed, you better believe that if/when the Lord blesses me with child, they will know about their Great-Grandpa and just how great he was. There are so many things I could think about to tell them, or anyone who wanted to know about you but most of all, I would tell them how much you loved Jesus. If I've heard you tell me once, I've heard it a million times, there's nothing better in the world than trusting Jesus and serving Him. While I didn't understand all that it meant as a small child, the impact you and my Grandmother have made in my heart and life are invaluable. Gramps, being told I was a something like my Grandmother was a compliment in having her compassion and gentle spirit, but it would be a compliment if someday I could be known as a prayer warrior like you were. Thank you Gramps for all that you were to me. For believing in me, loving me, supporting me, encouraging me, praying for me, and for raising my incredible Mom and teaching/showing me through your life what it means to love and serve Jesus. Thank you for wanting to be involved, for caring about how my work was going for me, and for letting me be "your girl." My heart hurts so deeply now that you are gone and I wondered what I would feel like when this day came. I wish I didn't know what it felt like but I know you are in a better place and for that I can rest a little easier. There will be an empty seat at my wedding in 4 months, but don't you worry. Just as I said I would honor my Grandmother, you will be recognized to, and I'm glad I told you my surprise because it will be played in your honor too. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know thus sayeth the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him. How I've proved him over and over. Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus, O for grace, to trust Him more." 
I couldn't think of anything better to recognize both you and your beautiful bride on that very special day. Like I said before, I don't do well with goodbyes, and like we said "I'll see ya soon." Until then, I hope to live a life that people say I was like Jesus in ways that they are saying about you now. I am blessed to be your granddaughter.  
I love you Gramps.
Bethany Joy


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