The love of a grandfather

Ava Hunt

  “I cannot wait to get to Heaven.”

These were the last words my grandfather ever spoke before he passed away on September 30, 2020. Faith is an immeasurably strong force for people like my grandfather and his whole life is an example of this. 

My grandfather, John Shea, was a devout Catholic for his entire life and he raised seven children with my grandmother. They raised all of their children in the faith from an early age, putting them through Catholic schooling in elementary through high school and always encouraging them to stay strong in their faith by consistently going to church every week. My grandparents were married for over 60 years and my grandfather’s love for my grandmother was evident through it all. When my grandmother got cancer a few years ago, he never left her side and helped her get through it, and this is just one of the many ways I witnessed his unconditional love for her. 

During my childhood, my grandparents used these years to make lasting memories with their family, and especially a lasting impact on their grandchildren, including me. The days my grandfather spent fishing with us down at Lake MacBride would turn into some of the most memorable events in my life to this day, even if they seemed small at the time. 

He lived a life full of love and faithfulness and he remained that way until his passing. Father Mark Murphy told my family after his passing that my grandfather had told him that Saint Jude was his favorite saint because he is the patron saint of lost causes. My grandfather, like many others, had ups and downs in his life and this saint helped him through them all. In times when he was struggling, he would pray to this saint for guidance and strength, and in a way, I think my grandfather credited Saint Jude for forgiving him of the wrongs he had done throughout his life. 

Grieving the loss of someone you love is an extremely difficult thing to endure, but knowing that they are somewhere so much better is a way to cope with it all. His faith never faltered and I really believe that God welcomed him with open hands through the gates of Heaven. 

Some people may not have a close relationship with their grandparents, or maybe you do not see eye to eye on some things, but I encourage you to strengthen this relationship. It is one of the biggest blessings I have received in my life and I have learned the most from them and their actions. If your grandparents passed before you were born, I suggest asking your parents about their lives or for stories about them, as it can bring you a lot closer to them. If you do not have the closest relationship to your grandparents, consider calling them more often, going to see them if you are able to or even just texting them once a week to keep up with them. I think all people deserve to have this close relationship as I have because it truly has impacted my life more than I could ever explain. 

The love of a grandfather is something that cannot be replaced and his love for all of us lives on through the memories he made with us throughout his life. It is comforting to know that I have an angel looking down on me and I know he has finally reached eternal happiness.