family, thoughts

Nearer My God To Thee

Thank you for your prayers and loving arms that have embraced us as we whispered goodbye to Pop-pop last week. It is an immeasurable comfort knowing that it was not a final goodbye, but as the pastor said at the funeral, it was “until we meet again” in heaven.

Stephen and I are so thankful for God’s providential timing in allowing us to attend the memorial service and be surrounded with family. There’s something special about just being in the same room with family. It’s that sense of belonging that I’ve missed most. It was comforting.

Our red eye flight out of Phoenix was delayed for an hour, so we missed our connection in Minneapolis. I did have the hike of my pregnant life while trying to get to the gate to see if our plane happened to still be there by some miracle. But, of course, it wasn’t, so we collected our meal vouchers from Delta and ate a hearty McDonald’s breakfast. As we waited for our rescheduled flight and uncomfortably tried to doze in the upright position, Stephen said, “Just once I’d like to fly first class.”

“Oh, honey,” I replied, “it probably isn’t even worth it.” I basically thought the main perk was wider seats.

After our plane pulled up to the gate, “passengers Moody” were called to the ticket counter where the flight attendant upgraded us to first class since we had been inconvenienced! Let me tell you, first class is worth it! What a comfy flight. Yes, the seats are wider, and yes, it makes that much of a difference. We were treated like people instead of like cattle. The flight attendant addressed us by name, “Mr. and Mrs. Moody, what would you like for lunch? I have a Cobb salad or a turkey wrap.” She came with a tray of hot damp washcloths. Being that neither of us had ever ridden first class, we weren’t sure what to do with the cloths. I was highly tempted to put it over my eyes and fall asleep, but we decided to wipe our hands with them. I think we made the right choice since she came back a minute later to collect the cloths and then served lunch. The lunch was delicious and the leg room was spacious.

Mom and Dad, on their way from central PA to the eastern shore, picked us up from the airport. It was great to see them and show off my baby bump!

We stayed with my sweet cousin, Allison, who lives in a neighboring farmhouse that she’s transforming into a cute, cozy home. Allison is a nurse, so she was able to help take care of Pop-pop and spent many nights with him. When I thanked her for caring for Pop-pop, she said, “I’d do it all over again.” The whole Taylor family has been like that throughout Pop-pop’s illness–willing to lovingly and sacrificially do whatever they could to make him comfortable and to keep watch over him.

That evening was the viewing at the small Framptom Funeral home in Federalsburg where Mom-mom and Great Mom-mom both had their viewings. I enjoyed talking with Mom’s cousin Oscar who told stories of Pop-pop and his brother Claude chasing all the cousins around with a hose at the dairy barn. It was nice to catch up with family and see all the supportive friends coming to give their condolences. All the teenage employees of my Uncle Calvin’s produce stand came to pay their respects.

I was nervous to see what Pop-pop looked like in the casket since I knew he had lost so much weight. The last time I had seen him was the beginning of December. When I looked in the casket, I saw the pin in his hands that I had sent him to celebrate his great grandson’s coming. My step mom-mom said she thought I would like that. I just hugged her and sobbed. How sweet! The pin is still in his hands tonight.

Pop-pop had picked out 3 songs to be sung at the funeral service, one of which was “Nearer My God to Thee.” I couldn’t sing the song, but I love this stanza.

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Pop-pop had requested that Stephen sing for the service, but poor Stephen had a bad cold, so he was unable. My Aunt Shawn and my mom both gave tribute to their dad. I also wrote a tribute that my sister Rebekah read for me. I wasn’t sure if I could get through it. My step aunt also gave a tribute. I’m hoping to publish my mom’s tribute soon. Please visit my cousin’s blog to read the tribute by my Aunt Shawn. It will help you know how special Pop-pop really was.

The memorial service was filled with hope. Although many tears were shed and many hearts broken, we know that Pop-pop is in heaven, and we will one day be with him again. The godly impression he has put in our hearts is a legacy I hope all of us will live out and pass on to our children.

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