In Loving Memory

My grandfather, Paul Widhalm, went Home today.

It’s hard to know what to say – how do you summarize a life . . .  a man . . . in a few words?

He was an incredible man.  An example of faith.  He prayed often, and he prayed loudly.  Whenever we were at the farm, we went to sleep to the sound of Grandma and Grandpa saying their evening prayers together.  He trusted God with everything, he believed in the power of prayer, and lived his life as an example of following Christ.

He was such an example of love.  His marriage to my grandma was everything I could hope my own marriage will be.  His devotion to her was unwavering.  They still celebrated the anniversary of their first date – close to 70 years later!  They were more in love than anyone I know, and embodied “the two becoming one.”  We always knew one would be so lost without the other.  The last day he was awake in the hospital, he held my grandma’s hand the entire day.  That is what I want my marriage to look like 60 years from now!

And, he was so generous.  He once told me about a time he gave $1 to a man on the street who said he “needed a drink.”  He told me, “God didn’t say tuh judge ‘im, He just said, ‘Give!'”  I think of that often.  God just said, “Give!”  And, Grandpa gave.  A lot.

Even though he had over 40 grandchildren, he had a way of always making me feel special.  He called me his “buddy,” and he was mine.  We would both cry out “Buddy!” as I ran to him to get my big, tight, long bear-hug.  You never had to wonder if he loved you.

He loved babies – the littler, the better.  So, we took Micah out as soon as we could (4 months old), and Matthew out to visit when he was only 2 months old.  Both times, Grandpa held the baby the entire time.  But, this time when we went to visit, Grandpa was only able to hold Matthew for feedings, but seemed to really enjoy the time snuggling him:

Summer of 2005 – I was pregnant with Micah:

Grandpa playing with Micah (4 months old):

He was a very, very special grandfather, and I am blessed to have him as an example of faith, love, and generosity.  He was able to live his entire life on the farm, which is what he wanted.  He would not have done well in a nursing home or assisted living – the farm was his home.  His last week was in the hospital, where we found out his lung cancer had spread to his spine.  He was comfortable and surrounded by family when he peacefully closed his eyes and passed away.  We have no doubt he is in the Father’s arms right now.

Please pray for my grandmother, Evonne.  Also, for their 8 children and their families.

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11 thoughts on “In Loving Memory

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather! Thank you for sharing your memories. We will keep your whole family in our prayers.

    Dave & Lanette

  2. Reading this tribute to your grandfather we can clearly see where your family’s faith and strength came from, which we have admired for so long. Your Dad and Mom have built on that stone of faith and unshakeable conviction. Now your generation continues using the wonderful gift you have been given.
    I was reading many of the accounts of Matthew’s early days and your pregnancy. Matthew’s truly wonderful life and your whole family’s and friends’ rejoicing in it today is living evidence of your faith and strengh.
    We love you all and will pray for the repose of the soul of your grandfather.

  3. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Cor. 2:9

    We are praying that the reality of heaven’s joys that your dad/grandpa is now experiencing will bring comfort to your hearts. Christ’s peace and love be with all of you.

  4. Our hearts are with you so right now. Thank you for sharing the many stories and memories of this amazing man with all of us. He lives on every day in each of you and you will continue to hear his voice. May God bless you all.

  5. Oh, Amy. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandpa. (My friend Audri’s grandpa died last week, too! Maybe they’ll be friends in heaven. 🙂 ) Thank you for sharing these beautiful words about and obviously incredible man whom I know you loved a lot. You and your family are definitely in my prayers, especially your grandma! I’m so glad you were able to take the boys and go visit a few weeks ago–I’m sure that meant the world to him.

    Just think, right now he’s probably in God’s arms, listening to God saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

    Love you, Amy! Remember…the best is yet to come! God bless.

  6. This is a wonderful story about a wonderful man, a person who inspires us to continue to strive to live the life God intended for us. Thank you very much for sharing the story of your grandfather. May he rest in peace with the God he loved!

  7. Your family has been truly blessed to have your Grandfather for these many years/memories. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute, it is inspiring and a reminder of what is important in life.

    May your family find peace knowing that he is with his Father and remains with you everyday.

  8. Amy, We’ll be praying for your family, especially your grandma. I’m so glad that you were able to see him in the past few weeks. I feel that God really does give us a nudge to be with those in our lives when we need it. I will also remember the lovely visit I had with my grandma the day before she passed away, and making Christmas cookies with my Nana shortly before she passed. All our love to you this weekend, hope that you are getting some good family time.

  9. Amy, what a beautiful tribute you have written to your grandfather. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. How wonderful to rest in the knowledge that he is home with his Father.

    We will be sure to keep you and your family in our prayers, especially your grandmother.

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