By Billy Pierre, Staff Writer
When we were pitching last time for this week’s article, I proposed that I would write a tribute to my grandfather. Taking into consideration his age, the editors agreed right away. My goal was to honor his life while he was still alive. I was supposed to submit the article this week on Tuesday afternoon. With so much school work, I was not able to do so. As I was working on it, early Wednesday morning, I found out that he passed away. He was 102.
Whenever I think of my grandfather, what always comes to my mind are the attributes of a warrior. In fact, I always refer to him as such. Even in his last days, he did not stop fighting. It had been two weeks; the whole family had to rush to the medical facility where my grandfather had been admitted for several months. The doctor had given us 48 hours to come and see him if we “wanted to see him one last time.” The message was clear: he could leave us at any moment.
After my visit, my friend asked if I was afraid for his life. I had answered no, knowing it was a false alarm. Several months ago, as my grandfather could not eat, the same doctor had indicated that it was a matter of hours before my grandfather would die, but he persevered.
He was born in April 1916. He had become a pastor very young. He built the first Christian church in my hometown. A few years later, he collaborated with my father to open an elementary school with the low means of the church. He was very involved in the community. When he was not preaching the gospel, he spent his time working in the field as a farmer. It was his way of feeding his children.
I remember, as a child, he would put me on his lap to read me scripture. Also, he enjoyed singing with us. On June 30, 1998, he was at my parents’ house because I was a victim of an accident on the road, and had fractured my leg. At his age, there was nothing he could do to help me, but I’m told that he a spent the rest of the day singing and praying for me. Prayers were indeed the weapon he always used in the face of any problem.
I remember he once told me that when everything is over, love will always persist. I have no doubt about that. Today he is not with us physically, but his presence seems to remain in our memory. His love burns ardently inside of us.
A few years ago, aware of his advanced age, he told the family not to mourn his death. He believed in an eternal life after the physical death. Today I share this with you because I want to celebrate his life. To live up to his standard will always be my way of keeping his legacy alive.
He has fought the good fight, he has finished the race, he has kept the faith.