I've thought about my Grandpa Coons a lot lately, for some reason. He and Austin had a lot in common and shared those great qualities I admire. They both had such kind souls and never met a stranger. I imagine Grandpa was among the first to greet Austin when he entered Heaven.
I was pregnant with Austin when my Grandpa's health declined. I remember him being in ICU and whispering in his ear that he needed to get better so he'd see his first great-grand baby. Grandpa pulled through and even though he and my Grandmother were both in the hospital when Austin was born, he was proud to hold him and welcome him to the world.
We spent a lot of weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's after Austin was born, and I know they enjoyed spending that time with him. I so very much wanted Austin to grow up knowing this man, who made such a difference in my life. My Grandpa was one of the greatest male role models I could imagine. He was the one who taught me to love God, and actually helped lead me to salvation. Grandpa was a preacher and I fondly remember growing up in his church and listening to his sermons. He instilled in me early what it meant to be a Christian.
Grandpa's face would light up, each time Austin was around. He enjoyed having Austin on his knee, sitting in the recliner. Grandpa always loved babies but I think he was proud to have lived to see his first great-grandchild. Sadly, Grandpa spent those final years struggling with illness and passed away while Austin was still a toddler.
I don't think Austin remembered him in the physical sense but I tried to pass on those wonderful qualities of my Grandpa to him. I believe he mirrored Grandpa's kind soul and genuine love for people and the desire to make the world a better place. Like Grandpa, Austin never met a stranger and would gladly help someone in need. I know Grandpa was smiling down, the day Austin decided to be a Christian. And although some thought at the time, he was too young to make the decision, I knew he was ready. I am ever-thankful that he was lead early and was able to be a Christian nearly half of his life on this Earth.
When your children are away from you, a mother worries. Knowing that Austin had Grandpa there to greet him, gave me great peace. I can only imagine the time they are enjoying together and the difference they are making from above. I can't wait for the day when I'll see them both again and I know big hugs are waiting for me.