Dear Grandpa…

My mom just called not too long ago that my Grandpa died this morning around 8:00 a.m. Though it wasn’t a shock (he had a huge brain aneurism) it’s still shocking when someone you love dies, stops breathing, leaves this earth and your life forever.

My grandfather, Riley Monroe Russell, was probably the most Godly man I knew. He prioritized life with God first, family next, everyone else and with himself no where on the list. If you knew, or even met my grandfather, you knew he fought in WWII, loved his country, loved his Father, loved his wife and loved his family very, very much. He worked hard to provide for his family and when he retired he never stopped doing everything he could to help his children and grandchildren. As grandchildren we had our college books paid for us, we knew that if we were in a bind financially Grandpa would be more than willing to help. He was always willing to help his family in any way he could–financially, with his time, words of love and wisdom, etc. When you told him “thank you” he would simply say, “I’ll write it in my book.” 🙂 We know he didn’t have an actual book, but it was always his response. He didn’t expect to be thanked but rather just wanted to help. The neighborhood children knew they could always count on Mr. Russell to give money to whatever they were collecting for, buy candy, or do what he could to help a child in school. He gave out the most and best candy at Halloween and the kids knew it! My grandfather gave of himself without expecting anything in return. He cared for my grandma for their whole married life. He loved her fiercly and didn’t love her less as her disease disfigured her body. He remarried after Grandma died and loved Hannah just as fiercly. He didn’t love her any less as cancer took over her body and called her home before they had had much time together. It wasn’t easy watching Grandpa suffer as he did in his last months of life. This man who had given everything he had without expecting anything in return had to endure his own sickness. Thankfully, our Father took Grandpa home without any pain and let him enter heaven in his sleep.

We will miss you Grandpa. We miss you already. I’m so glad Cora was able to know you even if just a little. She will grow up knowing what a wonderful man you were. I don’t know what our family will look like after today. You seemed to always be the glue which held us all together. But, you instilled in us a love for each other, the importance of family, and I know we’ll continue on. If there was one word I could use to describe you, Grandpa, it would be LOVE. Love flowed from you like I’ve never seen it flow from anyone else. You’re in heaven now. Not suffering, no longer in pain and with your Saviour. Tell Grandma hi for me. I miss her so much too. I’m glad you can be together again.

For Riley Monroe Russell: a man who loved his God, his family and his country. A man full of life, laughter and love. A man who will be missed my countless people. We love you!


2 thoughts on “Dear Grandpa…

  1. I love your post, Jeni. Grandparents are so special. I miss my Grandpa every day, and I know your Grandpa was as much a part of your life as mine was of my life. I hope you find comfort in all of the wonderful memories you have of him.

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