A four-year-old boy is sitting at the table and turns to his PawPaw and asks, “Pawpaw… did your mommy die?” His PawPaw turns to the little boy, gently takes his hands in his, lowers his face until he’s eye level with the boy and says, “Yes – but it’s ok – she’s happy in heaven now with Jesus.”

luke and pawpaw

The little boy is my sweet Luke, and PawPaw (my stepfather) in one sentence taught me so much. You see this weekend PawPaw’s mother, known as Oma to all who love her, passed away on Friday night and was welcomed in to the Kingdom of Heaven where she reunited with her husband, Pops. My mom was on a long awaited trip in NYC so PawPaw was by himself and I was heart broken for him and incredibly worried. My stepfather is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met in my life. So selfless that he asked me to not tell my mom so that she could enjoy her trip that she’d been eagerly looking forward to. So through most of the weekend I called him regularly and all around bugged him to see what I could do whether it was come stay with him, send him food or anything else he needed. Through out my multiple calls he assured me he was fine and always ended up turning the conversation in to checking on the boys and I.

Yesterday myself and the boys went to lunch with him as Daddy Russ has also been out of town. We were chatting (I can’t remember about what) when Luke suddenly asked about Oma. I immediately got quiet, started feeling the panic well up, not knowing what to say. But PawPaw had just the right words at hand. I’ve always wondered how I would go about handling Luke’s first experience with death but PawPaw in all his grace and faithfulness in the Lord knew exactly what to say to that little curious boy.

Tonight I was finishing up some work while partially watching Hallmark Christmas movies in the glow of Christmas lights strung around my living room. Foster was babbling next to me on the couch while eating his hand and I started thinking about the weekend and felt God begin talking to me. It’s that same feeling I’ve gotten so many times before when God tells me to open a fresh document and just start writing. As you can tell this weekend was filled with emotions – particularly wrapped around the little four-year-old boy asleep in his bed right now and my amazing stepfather. And I knew God was telling me to write about it.

I didn’t know Oma and Pops for a very long time but I am very grateful for the time I did have with them. They welcomed my mom, my sister and I in to their family with open hearts, massive hugs and gigantic smiles. Their love of family and friends was evident (as well as their love for all things Baylor). I am truly glad that they are reunited again.

And above all – there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for having Don in our lives. He has taught me so much about kindness, faith and love through not only his words but his actions. And this week I learned another lesson from him about finding grace in mourning. We love you PawPaw. Thank you for being you.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

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4 Responses

  1. Tina Kahlig

    What a lovely accounting of God’s blessings pooring out on your family. God is so good. I wish everyone of us could see his hand touching us as you do. That us a blessing in itself.
    Your a beautiful inside and out.
    Love you Tori

    Reply
    • tori@torijohnsonpr.com

      Thank you so much, Tina! Love you too!

      Reply
  2. gmaj

    What a beautiful, touching post. My condolences to the family. Don handled it wonderfully. God is definitely our strength.
    God bless you all.

    Reply

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