Monday, October 10, 2011

My Father Figures: Pierson Gilliland

Grandpa Gilliland. The name conjures up warm fuzzies and massive feelings of love. He was actually my great grandfather, my paternal grandma's dad. My paternal grandfather died before I was born, so my earliest memories are of Grandpa Gilliland.

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I worshiped him. There is just no other word that explains my feelings for him. I remember eating Cheerios with heavy cream with him because that's what he liked to eat. I remember just being with him. But the truth is, as the years have gone by, I've forgotten more and more about him.

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He died when I was still very young. I think I was 8 or 9. Someone took me for a walk and told me he was dead and that I would never see him again. It took a few days, but it was the first time that I was completely, totally devastated by a person's death. At one point I wrote a letter to God asking for Grandpa Gilliland back. There was a large part of me that was sure that God would give me my wish. When he didn't I think I truly understood the finality of death.
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But the most important thing that Grandpa Gilliland taught me was that I was loved. He loved me entirely and completely. And I felt the same thing for him. I still feel it all these years later when I think of him.
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Look at that little girl. She loves that man. She will forever,
but she just doesn' t know it yet.

When I think of Grandpa Gilliland, I think about love.

4 comments:

Torhild said...

What a sweet post. We should all take time to reflect on loved ones that God took. Doing that one will remember more and more about that person and it comes a little bit alive again- that memorie. Hmmm loved the post. Thanks

Nessa said...

Reading that you wrote God a letter made me so sad. But what a wonderful great-grandfather. Cream makes everything better - but I had never thought about Cheerios.

Michelle said...

This was such a sweet post. Sorry you had to lose him so young. But, he's obviously in your heart and soul forever!

Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com said...

So, so tender. I swallowed a lump in my throat reading about your letter to God.

Thank you for sharing your reflection. We've been hosting a writing project this week at The High Calling about people who influenced us during our growing-up years. Maybe you'd like to participate?

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