The day my grandpa died

The one thing that I didn’t ever want to happen while I was on the Race.
That one thing that I didn’t even think could happen…
…well, it happened.

Grandpa Dick, my dad’s dad, passed away at 7:22pm on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

I got the text in the middle of the night last night.
I don’t even know how to feel.
It doesn’t feel real.
And it feels really wrong to be away from home right now.
My family means the world to me.
This really hurts.

These pictures were taken on Father’s Day 2012.
There’s 2 pictures, one with my Dad and one with my Mom, since we couldn’t get one with all of us.
My Dad’s dad, Grandpa Dick, is wearing the green shirt in the middle 🙂

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

I left for the Race not even considering the possibility that I might not come back to everyone.
I guess I just assumed that nothing would ever happen while I was gone, or at least that it wouldn’t happen to me, to my family. That it wouldn’t be my grandpa.

But it is.

I’m sure you assume my first thoughts would be thoughts of sadness, which is fairly true. When I heard he wasn’t doing well a couple days ago, it hit me really hard.

But mostly then my thoughts were more along the lines of:

“Why would You do this, God?”
“This is me. I didn’t even think this was a possibility while I was gone.”
“Why are You doing this to me? Why can’t I be home when this happens?”

My thoughts raged dangerously close to, Who do You think You are?
Haha…that’s not exactly a wise thing to say to God.
He’s GOD, after all.

I’m not someone special, who deserves all of my loved ones to be exactly the way I left them in September 2012. That’s actually a really sad outlook on life. Oh, I can change but my family can’t.
Really, Jess? Yeah, I know. But I’m just being real honest with you.

My thoughts were, Okay, God, You need to be on MY timetable. Yours isn’t good enough.

Yikes.

My heart was not exactly in the best place.

I’m still struggling with the “why.”

It still doesn’t make sense to me why this had to happen now, when I’m so close to going home, yet so far.

It definitely makes being present here a lot harder, but at the same time, it makes me even more earnest and excited for ministry…to see people come to know Jesus.

My Grandpa accepted Jesus into his heart in September 2007, the same time my grandma, his ex-wife, passed away. It was a crazy hard but incredible time in the Eischens household. God did some amazing things.

But ever since then, it was hard to tell where he was at. If he really had a real relationship with the Lord. These past couple days my prayers have been focused on asking the Lord to enable my grandpa to know for sure that he is saved, and to be at peace in that. And while I don’t know every detail, I’m praying that that was the case.

My dad’s text at 3:22am my time:
“Grampa just passed away. Peacefully with family nearby.”

It brought tears to my eyes and a deep sigh to my lips.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

Grandpa Dick and I didn’t have the closest relationship in the world. But he’s my grandpa and I love him a lot. He sure loved to travel. My hope was to come home and get to have some long conversations with him about everything travel, and to get a chance to tell him my heart for missions.

I guess now I can rest in the fact that he knows. That he’s free from pain and is dancing with Jesus in heaven. I wish I could see the joy that I know is on his face.

Tonight I get to go to a rural village, play with children, and show the Jesus film.
My heart is so excited. This has always been something I’ve wanted to do.
And I’m praying that this night many hearts will turn to Jesus and accept His free gift of salvation. Because bottom line is, Jesus loved us SO MUCH that He died on the cross for our sins, and I want everyone to know and truly understand this amazing grace.

There is so much redemption in Jesus.

It’s hard to pray right now, but the only prayer that comes to mind is:

“Lord, do Your work as only You can do. May Your will be done, not mine.”


I love you, Grandpa Dick!

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)