It is with a heavy heart I write this month’s posting. I ask that you read this as a tribute to a man that was truly one of a kind.

In late April my family experienced a great loss. We lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a friend. My grandfather, Donny Johnston left this earth to rejoin our precious Lord and Savior.

Many of you reading this have experienced a similar loss in your lifetime, but I must admit this has been the most prevalent in my life thus far. With Grandad’s passing many emotions have been deeply felt by our family. Each day is a new normal for those that had him in their daily routines, but a hole is present that can never be replaced. As I have reflected over the last month three words have continuously come to mind and I’d like to share those with you.

Grief – The first, and most obvious, has been grief. My family and I have been dealing with the anguish of the passing of my grandfather. When you know the end of life is near for someone you simply cannot be prepared for it, much less when it is unexpected as was our case. There truly are no words that one can say to alleviate the sadness in someone’s time of mourning. Through this trial I have learned the best thing any of us can do, to show love and support, is simply provide a hug and express our sorrow for the loss. Nothing more, nothing less needs to take place.

Guilt – The second word that I cannot seem to shake is guilt. Guilt for words not spoken, opportunities missed and the “what ifs”. I realize this feeling is not of the Lord, but it has been ever-present throughout this process. The only thing that can pull me away from the guilt is the reassurance that none of these earthly emotions disturb Grandad any longer. His last breath here was his first in Heaven.

Gratitude – The final word that continues to resonate with me is gratitude. Now as you’ve read the last two you may be wondering how I can pull gratitude from this situation, but hear me out. I am grateful for the lasting memories that we each get to cherish. I am grateful for the closeness of family and friends that has enveloped our family (mainly my grandmother, mom, aunt and uncle) as they deal with this passing. Lastly I am thankful that Grandad is no longer suffering. His body has been healed and he never has to hurt again.

May you cherish each day you are blessed to walk this earth. May you strive to have a positive impact on each person you meet. May you never take the ones you love for granted. My heart goes out to all that have experienced, are experiencing and will experience such a loss.

Until we meet again.