The last couple of days have been hard.
However, they haven’t been near as hard as the past 8 months.
My grandpa, Bobby Jack Peery, went home to be with Jesus at 9:30pm on Tuesday night this week (July 9). He is leaving behind a wife of 61 years, a sister, and two kids with families among countless other relatives.
I’m going to try to make this different than a eulogy, because let’s be honest, eulogies usually seem written by a third party and don’t seem like the most real stories. They usually just seem like something to build up the ego of the deceased (because they care).
My grandpa grew up in rural Oklahoma in the late ’20s until the mid ’40s. His family lived just as every other family in the Midwest portion of the Depression lived: simply and content. There were two parents, Jack and his younger sister and brother in a small “shotgun house” with two beds, a pull out couch, one dresser and one bike! Jack’s dad, Neil, was a hardworking man on the local oil rig. Neil found Jesus at the top of the oil rig after escaping death by shedding the coat he was wearing in the nic-of-time so that he didn’t get dragged into the rig with it.
<strong>BACK TO THE MAIN CHARACTER</strong>: don’t worry, I’m not gonna go through his WHOLE life. Only the last couple of years.
Growing up, I really took my grandparents for granted. I never asked to hear any stories or wisdom; I just wanted stuff from them. The last couple of years; however, I’ve been very forthright in asking to hear stories. From Abe Lincoln to the stock market to oil rigs to church denominations, I have heard stories and opinions about it all and it has been INCREDIBLE. My grandpa Jack is very opinionated and very similar to me.
About 8 months ago, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer (he’s smoked a pipe for decades) and was told he had 6 months to live (mind you, he’s 86). He really didn’t want to do chemotherapy and radiation and all that hell they put you through. He was ready to be home with his Jesus. BUT he fought it. My dad and aunt convinced him to do chemo and radiation and he did it for them, not for him. We went to see him during Christmas time and he was already losing weight and getting tired, but he had no pain and wasn’t suffering. The Lord was being incredibly good to him. While we were standing on the porch (he was teaching me how to smoke a pipe), he started telling me a story.
This story was a dream he had been having ever since he had been diagnosed. Here’s how he told it:
“I was walking down a hard, red dirt road with huge green pastures on either side of me. I wasn’t going anywhere, I was just walking. Every time I’ve had this dream, I’ve always woken up right as I would see a fence and I never knew what it meant so I wouldn’t tell anybody. Well, the other night I fell asleep and started walking along this same country road, and as I approached this fence that extended as far as I could see on either side, a voice told me, ‘You’re almost there.'”
As far as I know, I am the only person whom he told about his dream. I was talking about it with the family today and no one knew what I was talking about. Needless to say, The Lord blessed me with an incredible few moments (among many) with my Grandpa Jack.
<strong>The next few months were the worst.</strong>
The radiation made him so weak. That was the hardest part for me was watching him wither away. He lost dozens of pounds in weight and by the end, couldn’t even stand by himself. I saw him on Father’s Day and had a very strong feeling that it would be the last time I would see my Grandpa Jack. He had lost so much weight and energy; however, he still had <strong>ZERO</strong> pain. None. The Lord was and is faithful and takes care of his servants.
My aunt lives in Reno and was able to fly in a couple weeks ago and go down to Victoria, TX with my dad to see grandma and grandpa Jack. He told them while they were there, “I have my family here. This is all I need.” Am I offended? Absolutely not. I know how important his wife and kids were to him and I also know how much he loved me. I am very aware; however, that his wife and kids were all he needed to be content. My dad and aunt left a couple days later and both understood that it would be the last time they would see their dad.
So we skip forward to today.
One of his best friends is officiating the service tomorrow and I get the opportunity to sing a couple of hymns! I’m so incredibly excited. When Carl (the minister) came over to the house today, we (my parents, my grandma, my aunt and uncle and myself) were just having a round-table discussion about Jack Peery. You know what words kept coming up?
He never, to the best of our knowledge, did anything for himself. When he would perform a business deal, he would give his customer the best deal possible. When he would serve in the church, he did so behind the scenes and if anyone gave him credit, he would quickly rebuke them and refute them. He poured out his wisdom and knowledge on anyone who asked him or who he felt needed it. When all around him was chaos, he remained calm, focused on the issue at hand, and fixed it. He understood that getting upset about uncontrollable circumstances did NO good for anyone.
Jack Peery was and always will be a man who’s heart was for people. He was quiet and reserved because he didn’t want any attention on him. He loved The Lord and led his family well.