Many of you know that my wife's grandfather, Ray, passed away recently. We went to San Francisco for his memorial this weekend.
I wish that I could convey the emotion and inspiration and impact the man had on me in the short time I knew him. Maybe if I back up and tell a bit of the story you can get a sense...
First of all, Ray is not my wife's grandfather by blood. And yet his treatment of her and myself somehow transcended that of blood. There are a number of reasons that helped make this possible, but suffice it to say that I am amazed at this, and it is a situation where the total is greater than the sum of it's parts.
I had no idea when I met Selah and fell in love with her, that I would be included as a member of the Robinson family. I had no idea the warmth and acceptance that they would extend, and how much I would come to love them. And Ray was the man who created the family capable of this.
Ray was a man of vision. He saw generations down the line. He saw that his everyday actions affected the well-being of his family and many others for a long, long time. He dedicated himself to this. He was a hard man, working long hours, building something that I am sure his wife and kids had a hard time seeing in the moment. I have heard many stories of his determination, his lack of affection, his iron will, and how much his family yearned for a word of love.
And yet this weekend, you would not have heard those stories. You would have heard of his undying devotion to the outdoors. His determination to gather his family to hike and ski and fish multiple times a year, no matter where they might come from, or what he had to do to bribe them. You would have heard stories about the fact that all the family knew that this was how he said "I love you." This was his form of a hug and a kiss.
You would have heard stories of his avid love of nature, and his immense knowledge of the outdoors. You would have heard the gratitude of having that knowledge passed down from generation to generation.
You would have heard stories of how he softened in his later years, and how he smiled more, and how his eyes brightened at the sight of any of his 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
From my experience, I have met few men of his stature in character and influence. My Grandpa Milt was one of those men, who had influenced so many with his strength of character.
Once again I am reminded that if I can achieve half as much as these men in my lifetime I will have succeeded.
Thanks for shining your light in this life Ray, I will forever be grateful and in your debt. Enjoy your walk in the heavens, as we are all racing to meet you very soon.