On Sunday, July 10, 2011, my Granddaddy Widick passed from this earth. I had the daunting task of being one who would officiate at his funeral. Below are the words I shared with the crowd gathered. These words were from the perspective of his 7 grandchildren, written in letter form to the greatest Granddaddy in the world.
I hope that all of us have made you proud. You worked so hard to get this family started. We know that you loved us all so very much.
I have a few confessions to make. First, one day when I was very little, I walked down into your basement and was playing around with some of your tools on your massive workbench. I found an oil can. I had never seen one like this. It looked like the one Dorothy used on the tin man in the “Wizard of Oz”. I grabbed it and pretended everything down stairs was the tin man, and gave it a good oiling. Sorry about the mess, but at least nothing squeaked anymore.
I also would always forget to turn the shop light off in your basement. I was always fascinated by the pull string that had the doughnut shaped ring to it. You could always see if the light was left on or not by looking down through the vent next to your chair in the den.
I know we all as grandchildren loved you very much. We want to thank you. Thank you for letting us play and hang out with you in your basement. We were always fascinated by it. I can vividly remember everything about the basement you were so proud of at the house on Darden. Walking in to your little office, where you had your small sofa, a little 13 inch television set (which you got as a Christmas Present one year from your children), one of 4000 puzzles laid out that you were always working on, and your pipe. OH, how you always smelled so special with that pipe smell. I remember a small black and gold radio you had on a shelf behind the couch. I remember finding reasons to go and wash my hands in your special little sink in the basement. The water was always ice cold.
We were always impressed by the enormous collection of aluminum cans as we would go up the stairs. We were also always fascinated by all the different and unique knick knacks you would keep in the unfinished ceiling of the basement. I think each of us found something new everytime we looked.
There wasn’t a time we remember when we didn’t look at your birthmarks on your arm. We’re sorry, but we were so impressed! You also always had ink stains on your hands from working so hard to provide for us. I know you had to be exhausted after you would get home from work, but whenever you came home when we would spend the night with you, you always took time for us. We don’t recall you ever being too tired to get down on the floor with us and play. Even in your last days, we saw you playing with our own children, loving them and holding them dearly, being so proud to be a great granddaddy.
You got us back though, for all the times we aggravated you. Every time you saw one of us you would come up to us and do one of a few things:
You would grab our arm, and squeeze right between our muscle and our bone. It wouldn’t hurt, but it didn’t feel good. You also had the ability to grab that tender spot just above our knee when we would sit beside you, and squeeze just hard enough. You also loved to count all of our ribs, and you would get us all as you tickled us.
However, all those things were just in fun. We know you loved to pick on us. But you also showed us your love in the simplest things. You would always hand crank the best ice cream out on the deck. From the wonderfully thick and sweet chocolate ice cream to perfect as could be peach ice cream, you knew just how many times to crank that ice cream. As Jackson put it last night to me, I don’t think anyone else was strong enough to do it but you.
John 14:1-4 Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled. If we believe in God; believe also in Jesus. His Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would he have told us that He was going there to prepare a place for us? And if he is going and preparing a place for us, he will come back and take us to be with Him that we also may be where He is. We know the way to the place where He is going.
There’s one problem with this verse, granddady. Some of our fondest memories of being with you were in the back yard, sitting on the cedar swing with you, walking around the yard looking at your plants and flowers, and most importantly – the annual Easter Egg hunt. You would walk around and help each of your grandchildren find the eggs that were hidden a little tougher than they should have been.
We know you’ve moved on. But the problem is you probably don’t care too much about the room Jesus prepared for you. You probably care more about the backyard. We know you’ve probably already started a garden at the home Jesus prepared for you. You’re probably even giving Jesus tips on how to make flowers and tomatoes grow a little fuller and a little riper.
Our memories of you will forever live in our hearts. Yesterday, as we gathered as a family in this room before guests started to arrive to honor you, I was reminded of the great legacy that you have to your name. I looked around and was reminded of God’s word to Abraham when he promised him that he would become a great nation – We are a great nation as a family devoted to God, all because of the care and kindness of this wonderful man.
Indeed, each of the grandkids heard you threaten with the phrase “You see that ‘mean’ in my eye? I know I would try to find it, but would never succeed in seeing it. None of us ever could. Admit it granddaddy, there was no mean in your eye, only love. But granddaddy, do you see that tear in my eye? Its real, and its there because you’re gone.
May we all walk daily in the footsteps of Jesus as you did. May we all be the examples to our own families as you always were to us. May we find comfort in knowing you’re with a Savior who always walked with you. May we continue to live out the legacy you began for this Widick family. We know we will see you again one day, and can’t wait to see what kind of backyard you will have grown using that heavenly soil.