Mother's column – For grandpa, the best was yet to come
Where ever my grandpa went, reading material was always close at hand. A stack of yellowed church bulletins, a textbook in some foreign language, a folder full of sermon notes... The story even goes that he once collided with a pole while reading on his bike. Grandpa's life was, therefore, turned upside down when his sight suddenly deteriorated.
Sometime early in the summer of 2020, he was diagnosed with cataracts. The surgery was scheduled for the end of August, so it was still far away, we thought. Grandma faithfully read to him from the newspaper, and family visits brought the necessary distraction. But in the meantime, those visitors began to worry a bit. Wasn't his sight deteriorating too fast? And why was he suddenly unable to make sense of his words? Besides, we noticed how hard it was for him to get out of his chair.
Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (9), Abel (7), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (1).
Every time we visited, he could do less, though he still followed our conversations with interest, as always. When we visited again during the summer holidays, grandpa was already terribly tired by the middle of the evening. "Next... time... better...", he managed to say, shuffling foot by foot to the bedroom leaning on grandma's arm.
But the next time we saw him, things were no better at all. There he lay, in the hospital bed, barely unreachable. Doctors didn't have a clue why he was deteriorating so rapidly. Occasionally, we could sense that something permeated the psalms we sang for him, the prayers, our tears for the loss that was already striking. Even before the official diagnosis came, we knew he would not return to his old self. His hearty smile and interest in everything and everyone had already disappeared. We had to let him go.
Next time better, he had said. It reminded me of the famous quote by the father of the Dutch resistance worker Corrie ten Boom: "The best is yet to come." That is so true. Just imagine grandpa's beaming face that morning of 27 August, when he was allowed to enter into the joy of his Lord. He could speak again, perhaps in a thousand languages. And sing. And leap like a deer. And he could see again, better than ever. At last, he saw the One he had been looking forward to meet for so many years. From face to face.
For grandpa, to be with Christ was far better.
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