Odell Newton Vanderburg, you were an amazing Grandpa. I Love You!

Saturday I held his hand and hummed and told him stories and about how all my kids know about The Big Fat Man and how my friends say my wedding is one of their favorite memories because he cried when he performed the ceremony. I told him it was okay to go, that we loved him and he’d touched our lives in ways he could never imagine. I told him it was okay to go to Grandma. He never opened his eyes, but the Hospice nurse told us he could hear. I tried not to cry, but when she sang Amazing Grace, it looked so much like he wanted to join in, I lost it a little. The nurse told us Saturday he had one foot here and one foot in heaven and we just had to let him go in his own time. When I kissed him and said goodbye, we knew it would be over soon. A few minutes after we walked in our front door, my uncle called to tell us it was over, that he was gone.
My earliest memories are filled with Grandma and Grandpa. I remember him telling me peanuts were goobers (I thought he was cussing, which is really funny now), and playing tickle monster and sneaking kisses from Grandma and telling us to shush up when the cousins were talking and he was preaching, and driving through town and telling us stories, and picking up the phone and dialing zero just to tell the operator Jesus loved her, and tinkering with washers in his back yard, and raising Bantams and pigeons and taking us to The Blue River to swim. When I spent a week with them a handful of years ago, my car broke down and he took me to Joe Cooper in Shawnee. He’d never bought a car from them, but they all knew him. When we went to the bank, everyone said hello.
That was Grandpa. He never met a stranger and he wanted the world to know Jesus. A year ago Christmas it broke my heart that he couldn’t remember his love story, a story he’d shared so many times over the years. When Grandma died in March, it broke my heart because he kept asking for her, wondering where she was, why she wasn’t there with him.
Last week he told my mom he knew where Grandma was now. Within five days, he was almost ready to join her.
Today we celebrated the amazing life of Odell Newton Vanderburg (June 26, 1917-Dec. 18, 2010) in the church where I spent most summers and Christmases growing up. I didn’t cry until we were almost home and then it hit me that it really was over. That Grandma and Grandpa and that part of my life are truly memories. That I can’t pick up the phone and call for advice or a recipe or prayer. But even though its over, it’s not. Grandma and Grandpa will live forever int heir legacy of God and faith and love.
I’ll miss them, but I’ll see them again one day. They’re together now, and that’s a good thing.

One response to “Odell Newton Vanderburg, you were an amazing Grandpa. I Love You!

  1. HUGS, MB! What a great tribute.

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