This last week, we said goodbye to Eric’s Grandpa, who passed away at the age of 91. It was a bittersweet weekend of gathering together with family to remember a life well lived. Though it is nothing but sobering to consider death and its finality, mourning too must have its season.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
There indeed is a season for everything. And we rejoice with Eric’s grandpa at the eternal season he’s now entered…one in which his mind and body have been restored and made new..and one in which he can dance once again.
We thought we’d share the eulogy from the funeral to give you a little glimpse into his grandpa’s life:
Today as we gather in remembrance of Ole Sampson, we each picture him as we knew him best…working in the field or around the yard, fishing off the dock at Red Willow Lake, enjoying a game of golf, or going for a walk. Can you see him … wearing his cap? He never went far outside without one.
As we reflect on his life of 91 years…the work and activities he participated in that filled his days, his accomplishments and his contributions, we realize that he was a man fulfilling many roles, a wearer of many caps.
Of course, there was his farmer cap. He wore it, usually optimistically and cheerfully, in all kinds of weather. He wore it faithfully, relying on God. He wore it as he worked hard to provide a living for his family…and he gave back generously to the land as a good steward should.
Others recognized Ole’s leadership skills and intellect, and he was frequently called upon to wear that leadership cap out in the community and beyond. It took him all the way from Edmore and surrounding communities, to Washington D.C., and many faraway places around the world, from trips to the Philippine Islands, to Egypt, to Japan, and to Italy, where he lobbied and promoted trade for the wheat growers of North America. The leadership cap offered challenging opportunities to exercise his abilities and talents, to teach and to learn …and he served generously in return.
The caps mentioned so far were important and suited him well. But we think his favorite caps were those he wore as family man and friend, where he is remembered not only for his loving, faithful service but also for fun, laughter, support, and encouragement … qualities he drew from those around him, and which he generously returned. We can see him twirling a daughter or granddaughter around the living room in a lively dance as he sang his own accompaniment, taking a grandson for one more ride in the fishing boat around the lake as they both enjoyed the morning sun, or encouraging son-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends in their latest projects and interests.
In these later years, as his health and mind faded, Ole wore a different kind of cap…a cap that demonstrated to those around him the strength and beauty found in patience and gentleness, as he sang little tunes to the nurses and aides caring for him at Sheyenne Crossings, greeted those who entered his space with a smile and a wave, or contentedly watched the birds fluttering around the feeder outside his window while holding Babe’s hand. …Yes, he practiced generously those qualities of patience and gentleness.
Picture Ole in his many caps, many roles, stemming from a generous heart…we will remember him warmly and thankfully.
(Written collaboratively by SuEllen Shaw, Cindy Balliet, and family)