Monday, September 14, 2009

A Tribute to Pa

This past Thursday my family lost a beloved member of the Lowry clan. My grandfather "Pa" was 77 years old. He is now in heaven with our Savior Jesus and is reunited with his beautiful wife - our "Nana." Heaven is now a sweeter place because Nana and Pa are there. Pa has been waiting for this reunion for the past two years as my Nana's passing was very difficult for him. On Sunday, September 13th we gathered together in Manchester, TN to celebrate his life. My mom's side of the family is very close so time together with them was such a gift. Even though both of my Lowry grandparents are now gone, I have no doubt that our family will continue to have many a joyful time together.

I had some regret that Pa never got to meet Nolan. We visited him in the Critical Care Unit in Murfeesboro over Labor Day, but it was not safe for Nolan to enter the CCU (many serious cases of the flu). I got to squeeze Pa's hand and he squeezed back really hard. I got to tell him I loved him. Though he couldn't utter those words back that afternoon, I didn't need to hear them that day. Pa was forever telling me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me and Jeremy. Though Pa never met Nolan on this side of heaven, he felt him kick in my belly at a shower in Nashville. Pa told me Nolan needed a spanking for kicking him so hard.

My grandparents' house in Manchester is filled with so many precious memories from my childhood. Pa had a garden full of vegetables and a farm that hosted both cows and pigs. As a child I once watched a mother pig give birth to piglets and the moment was breathtaking. My cousin Katie and I used to roller skate in the basement and swing around the poles. We would make up dance shows like "Circus Celebration", put advertisement signs around the house, and charge our aunts and uncles 10 cents to come to the show. In that house I discovered a love for playing the piano and I loved listening to my Nana sing alto. On their farm I learned how to do cartwheels, watched Martins, and took many a tractor ride with Pa. Twenty of us would gather around for an intense game of Trivia Pursuit (boys vs girls) and then we'd end the evening singing old hymns. The casserole dishes at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals filled every ounce of counter space in Nana's kitchen. Those are the kind of meals I believe they'll serve in heaven. My friends that know me best can attest to my mischievous side. I inherited this trait directly from Pa. He loved a good prank!

My dad shared some neat thoughts at the funeral. For the past couple of years my Pa has been showing signs of early Alzheimer's disease. In the evenings he would get confused and ask those around him if he could go home - even though he was in his own house. They would gently tell Pa that he was home. A few minutes later, Pa would ask the same question again, "Can I go home now?" My dad pointed out in his talk that all this time we assumed Pa was just talking to us. In the quiet places of Pa's heart, God was preparing him to go to his real home.

Dad also read two verses from one of my favorite songs at the funeral. It was a fitting reminder of the hope and victory we have through Jesus Christ!

In Christ alone, my hope is found

He is my light, my strength, my song

This cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand

No guilt in life, no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me

From life's first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I'll stand