The past six weeks have been difficult for my extended family. My sister's grandfather-in-law Tom Salt, aka Poppa, became very sick. I can't remember all the details, but he ended up in hospital with seizures, swelling of the brain and a few other things. Miraculously, after just five weeks he was up and walking and able to go home to his beloved wife Pam, aka Nanna.
On Sunday night he had a massive heart attack, and was once more taken to hospital. This time it seemed certain that it would be the end of life here on earth for Poppa. On Thursday morning, Poppa died. He got to go meet his Saviour Jesus, face to face. What an experience that would have been.
|Tom with his beloved wife Pam|
I didn't know him very well, but had the chance to get to know him a little while my sister and her family lived with him. He seemed like a remarkable man - full of love for his family and very generous. He was quite involved in his church and did a lot of community work with them. What I noticed most was his love for his great-grandchildren, my niece and nephew. He was always keen to tell me the latest thing they had been doing, and they adored him too. My little nephew would happily spend hours (or as long as Poppa would stay!) throwing a ball with him. No wonder little J has such good ball skills now! When Ariella died, he and his wife sent us a very cute Baby Girl card, and it is still one of my favourite cards. Since my sister's family moved to Japan, I didn't see him very much. And I missed him. I guess I should have just popped in for a visit every now and then, since I knew they wouldn't mind.
One of my current favourite worship songs is 10,000 Reasons, written by Matt Redman. My favourite parts?
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes
And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will sing your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more
During his last week at home with his wife, Tom told her that he was at peace and not afraid, as he knew he was going to a better place. When the evening came for Tom, his soul was singing God's praise. I hope the same is true for me whenever my evening comes.