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.