After 3 terrible weeks in the hospital, he decided his time had come and he wanted moved to hospice. As we sat in the room waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the nurse asked him, "so, what did you do?" A simple west Texan reply of, "I farmed and raised cattle" ended the inquiry.
But I wanted to scream, "He did so much more!" He raised quarter horses and took my husband all over the state to horse shows. He loved fish fries. He believed in Jesus. He has strong opinions that he sure didn't mind sharing. He liked to watch judge shows on daytime television and Duck Dynasty at night. He worked hard, he enjoyed life, and he always wore the shirts we bought him for Christmas anytime we were coming over.
And maybe most importantly, he raised a family. A good one, by my calculations. Four generations of which were there that day to stand vigil as his time came. He was married to the same woman for over 60 years, and they sure loved each other. He got the chance to play with his 5 great-grand children. Just hours before he took his last breath, my baby crawled up on his bed and babbled for several minutes. As one of my friends often says, babies are the closest to Heaven since they were there most recently. Made me wonder what he was saying and if Grandpa Joe might have understood. He did so much more than he could tell that nurse in those few seconds.
But as we spent the next 12 hours saying goodbye to Grandpa Joe, I could not get the question out of my head. What did you do? I suppose one day, we will all be asked that question. Perhaps by a nurse, maybe more likely by our God. What did we do? What difference did we make? How did we show love? Show Jesus? Make a difference?
Grandpa Joe died about 12 hours after his conversation with the nurse. No doubt, he was ready to go home and he had a good answer to that question when he arrived.
His was a life well lived. He left behind people well loved. One day, may we all say the same.