The Balloon Man
By Robin Jones
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116: 15 NIV
Grampa got sick. When he returned from the hospital, he was placed in hospice care. Gabriel didn’t notice that Pepaw was dying. What Gabe did notice was Grampa’s new toys—a nose cannula, an O2 tank, and a nebulizer. Monkey see; monkey do. (Imagine a three year old putting on a spare nose cannula so he can look like his favorite superhero.)
At 2 am, the night before Joe died; my mother-in-law and I held each one of Joe’s hands. Tearfully we told each other that ministering angels were around Joe. In our grief, we didn’t hear the pitter pat of little feet.
Gabriel appeared at the doorway. “Where’s Grampa?” he asked. We stood aside so he could see Joe. Gabe crawled in the bed beside him. He stayed beside my father-in-law all night and throughout the next day until he passed. It was just like old times when Gabe would get in Grampa’s chair with him.
In the days that proceeded, sadness covered the house. As we tried to distract ourselves from the overwhelming feelings with a visit to the Dollar Store, God relieved our hearts and reminded us of what we truly hope for.
Gabe stopped us in the store parking lot. He tried to reconcile where Grampa had gone. We explained, He’s in heaven with Jesus. Gabe pointed to the sky and repeated, In heaven with Jesus? We nodded and cried a little more.
Getting ourselves together, we entered the store. We walked aimlessly while Gabe searched for the perfect treasure. He settled on a balloon. When we exited the store, he opened his hand and let his balloon fly.
Worried a crying jag from a distraught 3 year old would ensued, I complained,
Ack! What are you doing? You let your balloon go!
Calmly, Gabriel reassured me,
I know, Mommy. I’m sending it to Grampa in heaven.
Gabe had it right. His Pepaw is alive with Christ.
Death is not the end. Salvation in Jesus assures us of another home. Death is the culmination of our journey. As we return homeward, our loved ones will greet us, our Father rejoices, and Jesus says, Well done, good and faithful servant.
And when Gabe gets there, to see His Master’s face, he will first be greeted by a man with a fistful of balloons.
Order a Hallmark Recordable Story Book to save your loved one’s voice for your little one.
Lord, grief overtakes us. May we turn our hurting hearts to You so that You would save them. Help us turn our mourning into joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
© 2013 by Robin Jones. All rights reserved.
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