In the year 2007, my grandfather the late Archbishop Jimmie Lee Smith got the news that his kidneys were failing and that he had congestive heart failure along with other problems. He had all of these problems early on in life but never took the time to go to the doctor and get checked out. He was always concerned about the well being of others and took care of himself last. Being a preacher he would sometimes pass out after preaching and everyone just thought it was because he had preached so hard. After every church service a nurse would come and monitor his blood pressure because he also had high blood pressure which seems to run in my family blood line.
My grandfather’s illness took a toll on my entire family which put a lot of things on hold for us. We had planned family trips and a family cruise we were going to be taking in December of 2008. My mother being the eldest of my grandfather’s children always says that “He gave us one more year to be with him and to cope with his sickness,” but it did help the family to spend more time with him.
Our family went on our last trip with him which was Christmas of 2007. We went to Lake Oconee and had a great time fellowshipping with each other. We all stayed in one cabin but it was huge. It was a great time of fun and lots of laughter. My grandfather slept most of the time but just being with his family was enough to make him happy. He was also sick while we were on this trip but that was not going to keep him down.
In the beginning of January 2008 my grandfather had begun to have memory loss which meant that the port in his arm from dialysis had stopped working. My grandmother took him to the hospital right away. I remember the last talk I had with him. I walked in the hospital room and he took my hand and said, “Hey Boy How you doing?” I laughed and then he asked me if my name was Sapphire and I said no with a look on my face as if he did not remember me. I then proceeded to leave the room and he said “Bye Shae,” I wanted to cry because at first I thought that the only grandfather that I had ever known had forgotten who I was.
My grandfather passed away on January 11, 2008 from congestive heart failure. Since his passing my family has became even closer than before. Every Sunday we go out to eat or someone cooks and we go to their house. I will miss my grandfather but I know he is in a better place where he will suffer no more. I believe that when death occurs all one needs to have is hope.
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