but he is not.


Last Saturday my grandfather, Ray Spellacy passed away. He’ll be missed tremendously. He left his mark on many. Thanks to the wisdom of one of my mentors, I’ve been learning to listen to my emotions and thoughts during times like these. The other day, after being really busy and tired, I finally got some time to jot down some of my observations about death, as I grieved the loss of a man who meant much to me. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts, unedited, taken from my journal:

-“He’s not gone or erased. He’s just not here anymore. Where he is now is something only faith can speak to. This is what my soul and spirit and heart are telling me. This is what I feel. His body is dead, but he is not. I’m not sure how this works, but the Christ story, which I’ve wed myself to (or has wed itself to me), offers clues, but still remains a mystery. What is the ultimate message, story, truth? It is that Grandpa is still alive!”

-“Grandpa spent his last night confessing and praying. Are there words besides these that can possibly be uttered as death creeps near? Confession and repentance are the ultimate statement of gratitude.”

-“One of the most soothing moments was playing with Ethan Jensen, Grandpa’s great grandson. Something about his innocence and obliviousness to Grandpa’s passing bookended life, framing the ends, and was very true.”

-“I could not control my sadness. Once the door was opened it was hard to shut. We’re just along for the ride when it comes to mourning. There is no protocol, besides being honest, and I need to be honest because my grief is trying to tell me something very important about life, about reality, about family, about love, about what is of real value.”

-“Grandpa apparently regretted not spending more time with his kids, not knowing them more. In light of his imminent death, he didn’t regret not making more money, going on more trips, eating more good food, or being more comfortable in life, but not knowing and being known by his kids. I think we’ll all regret this. I also think this is an impossibly hard task, knowing others and being known. Work, achievements, pleasures, busyness, possessions, promotions, are all easier and simpler causes to give our lives too.”

-“Being with family is what I want most. We don’t have to talk about it or be productive, we just need to be in each others presence. Sharing space with one another as we all have been met with loss feels natural, as if it’s where I’m supposed to be. At the right moment, thoughts memories, stories, laughter, and tears organically bubble up and it’s like he’s alive and in our midst. Thank you God for family.”

On the road to life
You breathed your last breath
Machines gave out their ring
You’re not here
A daughter gave her ear
The night before you left
Confession and forgiveness
Rained down

Your time, was a gift to us
Grand is the mark you left on us

On the Laramie train
Your future carved its way
Through mountains to her side
Your bride
Pacific Ocean waves
Crash through the Golden Gate
Your family and your work
On these shores

On cobblestone streets
Of London does it snow
A village in your eyes
A joy in ours
Are these memories
A cabin in the woods
A store of medicine
Your charming smile

Your time, was a gift to us
Grand is the mark you left on us

One thought on “but he is not.

  1. Lovely and heartfelt. Thanks for sharing. God bless you as you walk through all the emotions on the road of grief!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s