She was tearful when she said hello, and then came the words we knew were coming but were still so hard to hear, "Opa passed away". It was one of those times when it is so hard to be so far away.
|Four Generations of Groeneveld Men|
And Aiden is named after Opa too, John Aiden.
He was Leslie John Henrickis Groeneveld (John was named after him) on his birth certificate. Those who knew him called him Bud. Those who were family.....we called him Opa.
My first introduction to Opa was when John and I just met in college. He adored his grandpa and always shared fond memories of times growing up with him. Before I ever met Opa, John told me that Opa had been praying for me for years. His Opa sent him letters in college telling him that he was praying for John's future wife. I never imagined that someone who had never met me was faithfully praying for me. That was just Opa...a prayer warrior for ALL his family.
I never had a grandpa growing up. So I guess I was a little partial to the 2 sweet grandpas the Lord gave me through marriage. And I was blessed to have been adopted into Opa's family!
John told stories of his Opa driving them around on the back of a lawn mower and riding around town in the front seat of his Opa's work truck. John and his siblings spent weeks at a time in the summer with Opa and Oma and everyday, Opa would take them swimming at the pool and sit by to watch them all afternoon. Opa adored his grandkids--- 8 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. And they all adored him.
He made wonderful dill pickles (with his own home grown dill) and he made some awesome spaghetti!
He was a WWII vet, but didn't talk about it much. If you got him alone and it was quiet he might share a story or two from the war, but those moments were rare. He had fought for his country, but was never one to go on about it.
And at other quiet times, you just might get him to sing you a song in German.
He loved Cream of Wheat (and could make it without any lumps!!) and Maid-Rites. John and I were car shopping with him and Oma and after we were done looking at cars Opa insisted that we stop and get a sandwich....but it had to be a Maid-Rite! He wouldn't settle for anything else.
He loved his wife.....oh, how he loved her! They married right before the war and have been married over 70 years. They would cook together in the kitchen and always had a feast for us when we went to visit them. They lived in the same little house for their entire marriage. They really had a special kind of love.
And He loved God. He was a faithful Christian who loved the Lord and served Him as long as he was able. And that is what makes today a little easier for those who loved Opa. We know that today he is walking those streets of gold that he was so longing for in his last days. No more pain, no more struggles, no more tears. He has met His Savior face to face!! And like Aiden said tonight, "I bet God is takin' really good care of Opa!"