Monday, October 20, 2008

Dear Grandpa

Your 100th birthday was something we'll never forget, nor will we forget all of our visits to the farm and the wonderful stories you told about your past. We have always been so proud to be part of your legacy which will be passed on to our children and our children's children.

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"

Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
shout; "Here she comes!"

And that is dying.

-Henry Van Dyke

[My Grandfather died this morning at 11:55am. One of the last things he said was that he wanted to go to sleep and be with Jesus. He was still working on his farm until about a month ago when his heart, after 100 years, finally grew weary.]