This Part II follows an introductory post here.
Some Short Excerpts from November 2014
“Tell my kids I love them…I’m going home.” I was stuck in Japan at a work conference when the world lost one of its greatest. A picture of love, generosity, humility, and humor, my Grandpa Puy was an incredibly special man who touched the lives of so many people. I’m so blessed to be one of them…We had such a special connection, I feel I lost part of my heart with him, and I can’t begin to describe how much I miss him. I was his “Big One”, his “Teen Teen”, “Grandpa’s little baby”…I’ll miss his teasing, his smile, his quiet, strong faith, and his big heart. I love him so so much…”so much in the whole wide world”. Grandpa, you were one of my favorite people. You are my sunshine, and you made me happy when skies were grey. I know you’d tell me you love me more, but I guess I get the final say this time when I say I love you the mostest.
Though I was in Japan, Grandpa’s wife and children surrounded him during his last moments. As my mom said, “This is the face of real love and commitment.” After 63 years of marriage, Grandma wouldn’t leave his side, even when the nurses suggested she step out. “Nope, I’m not going anywhere!” So glad that he had his “child bride” at his side to walk him home. This couple is one of my inspirations for love and strength: He was a softy and she is a feisty, strong woman. They loved each other, and together they built a loving, wonderful family. My grandparents. <3
Hi everyone. My name is Christine, but to my Grandpa I was his “Big One”, his “Teen Teen”, and “Grandpa’s little baby”. When I was born, my grandpa held me all through the night, singing “Grandpa’s little baby” over me to the tune of an old Dutch classic…As such, I felt compelled to “sing over him”, as it were, by sharing some words with you.
If you knew my grandpa, you would know that one of his most prominent personality traits was his humor. He was ALWAYS joking around—you could gauge just how much he loved you by how much he teased you! For example, as young kids we would often get a bowl of ice cream for dessert. Grandpa, being the teaser that he was, would point towards the sky and say, “Look! An airplane!” then when we looked away, he would snatch our ice cream bowls away so we wouldn’t know what happened to them! “GRANDPA!!!!” We would scream. We quickly learned to hold onto our ice cream after that! I also remember that he had a special mirror that he loved to hand to an unexpecting person…when you grabbed the mirror’s handle, SURPRISE! you hit a button that would make the mirror laugh at you! And what child can forget a grandpa who would rattle his dentures at you just to get a shriek and a giggle!
Teasing wasn’t the only way Grandpa showed his love, though. My grandpa loved to invest in people—whether it was my grandma (his “child bride”, as he affectionately called her), his family, his employees, the youth in the city, or the people in the nursing home, my grandpa was the image of generosity and compassion.
I’ve heard so many stories over the years about his generosity…how he gave a truck to somebody, or helped somebody out who was in great need and couldn’t get a loan. I’ve heard what a caring manager he was at Paper Box, and how much his employees loved to work under him. I experienced his love daily as a child when he would come over for a morning cup of coffee and then drive us to school—only to pick us up after school again. Sometimes our destination was McDonalds for a yummy treat. Other times we would take “the short-cut” home, which we often begged him to do, because it was actually a longer ride along the lake that we got to spend with him. Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes he’d let us steer the car—only to freak us out by suddenly hitting the accelerator while saying, “Wooooo!” I have so many beautiful, wonderful memories of him that if I tried to share all the important ones we’d never leave!
But my words would not be complete if I did not mention Grandpa’s love for the Lord, which was poured out into the community through activities like Vacation Bible School, Sunday School teacher, prayer partner, elder and deacon. It was only after I grew up that I learned he actually helped to found Campus Life and the broadcasting of WVCY Radio—as a kid I never had a clue as to just how much he did to serve the community and to invest in others!
Some people asked me why God let him sit in a nursing home for so long. I don’t believe that God causes bad things to happen to people, but I do believe He redeems bad situations. Just as Grandpa was a light to the youth as a young man, he was a blessing and a source of joy to the elderly residents and to the nurses that he encountered on a daily basis. His love just kept flowing, no matter where he was, and I saw how he continued to walk with the Lord and to spread what goodness he could even when he had little energy for himself. Where could one man find so much love for so many people? I can only answer that this sweet, gentle, humble man was so faithful to Jesus that he was a direct conduit of God’s love here on Earth.
Just to give you an example of the intimate relationship he had with God, I’ll let you know a little secret: My grandpa knew God’s name! He told me once, and now I’ll tell you: It’s Andy. Haven’t you heard the song? It was one of Grandpa’s favorites: “Andy walks with me Andy talks with me, Andy tells me that I am His own! And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known!” [Note to those unfamiliar with the actual song: The lyrics are actually, “And he walks with me, and he talks with me, etc. It was a favorite joke of Grandpa’s.] Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” That means that Grandpa was already living eternally while he was among us. Now he is simply continuing that eternal journey, walking with “Andy” in the Garden, sharing a joy that none other has ever known. I love you, Grandpa, and pray that one day I may join you and share in your joy once more.