What would I say my favorite moment with Grandpa was? Why?
My Grandfather passed away about one week ago. My favorite moment with him was when I had the opportunity to join him in the U-Hall as our family drove from Clackamas to Richland. Having three-plus hours with your grandfather as a twelve year old is absolutely priceless. All I remember is that we talked a whole lot. I listened to his stories. We laughed. I even read to him from one of the popular fiction books that I was reading. He loved books – I think that I have this part of his DNA.
What words could we use to describe Grandpa’s life? Why that language?
In planning his memorial, I had my sister and cousin contact each of my Grandpa Buller’s six children in order to ask them how they would describe their father. They described him as hard-working, honest, trustworthy, and gentle. He indeed had a classic smile. You would be talking to him and he would just look at you with sort of a blank look. You would even begin to wonder if he had turned down his hearing aid – if he was even listening to what you were attempting to say. Then, without any warning whatsoever, he would break out in this indescribable smile. You knew at that moment that he loved you. That he cherished the conversation. Charles Buller showed such wisdom and courage and always aimed to teach others about personal responsibility – that decisions bring with them rewards and consequences. Above all else, his legacy is that he faithfully loved his wife, his children, and his extended family.
Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family
The Apostle Paul wrote, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:1-5, ESV),
I am convinced that the greatest way that we can honor my grandfather’s legacy is by being united as one family. My prayer is that we take the time and effort from this point forward to be united with Christ – committing to love God and love others. The truth is that we find comfort and encouragement when we work together. In contrast, disunity only brings discomfort and discouragement. A family has to find a common cause and devote their lives to it. This will only take place as we rely upon the very Spirit of God to bring about that unity. He is the only One who can make tenderness and compassion the new norm. We have to go out of our way to avoid the attitudes and actions that compromise that family unity. There is no longer any place for selfish ambition and vain conceit – those mindsets and methods only confuse and destroy. We can no longer get caught up in glorying in our own successes or furthering our own agenda. Instead, let us approach each relationship with humility. Let’s consider the needs of others. There is no greater way that we can do this but to go out of our way to care for Grandma Buller in her time of loss and transition. Let’s not look only to our own interests but also to the interests of others. We must take the time to consider someone else’s perspective and situation. Enough with always waiting for someone else to change – let’s bring the change ourselves. We are accountable for our own responses – for what we bring to the family dynamics.
We must be intentional in following the example of Jesus Christ. He left behind the glory of heaven for the humility of earth. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He was shamefully, painfully, and publicly executed. Do to his love and loyalty, our Heavenly Father used him to conquer death, hell, and grave. He was honored through his humility. He brought reconciliation through righteousness.
What do you think was most important to Grandpa Buller?
He loved his family. That is why he asked for his children to come home to say goodbye. That is why he waited until all six were home before he passed. I will never forget what it was like to see all the children and Grandma gather around him in his final hours – to see them all in his room and at his side.
How can we best honor his legacy and celebrate his life as one family?
I love how the family came together to make this memorial a reality. Each of the six children were represented through a family member. Karen’s grandchildren lead us in song, I, as Janet’s son, facilitated the memorial, Chuck’s oldest girls shared a poem, Ramona’s daughter greeted our guests, Roger’s wife read the family record, and Robert’s daughters read and greeted. That being said, we cannot see this as a simple end but as a promising beginning. Over the course of the last week, I heard my uncles and aunts reminisce of days of old. Those precious memories that they had at their Mami’s and Papi’s house. Why can’t something like that happen for us as cousins? For our children? We must intentionally get together again. This will only take place as we forgive each other for all the wrongs done in the past. We can forgive those who sin against us just as our Father has forgiven us. Thank you Grandpa for the life that you lived. We now commit to live in a similar way – as a family.