On January 4, the wonderful man that I was lucky enough to call my grandfather, Ed Henderson, went on to Heaven after a hard fought battle with intense surgical complications. Though I was lucky enough to be blessed with my grandpa for 19 years, I am still shocked and trying to process this extreme loss. There will never be a day that I will not miss him, not want to talk to him or not just want to hear his voice. As hard as this will be for me and for the rest of my family, I have to remind myself that he is no longer in pain, he is no longer weak, and he is with Jesus. Thinking of the wonderful memories that I have are the only way I am able to cope, we had so many special times together. While many will unfortunately only remember the terrible way that he had to die, I am choosing instead to remember the way that he lived, with a positive mind and a great heart.
Ed Henderson was the definition of class. Born in 1930, raised by a single mother in a small, southern town, he grew to be the perfect gentleman who would one day make the perfect husband to my equally amazing grandmother and the perfect father to my mother and aunt. Before becoming a family man, he was a member of the United States Air Force where he served time on various bases, including one all the way out in Alaska. It wasn't long after he was out of the military that he met and became immediately smitten with my grandmother. The two met in February of 1956 and were married in August of that same year. They had a fairy tale relationship that you only read about in books. I will be lucky to find a man one day that loves me half as much as my grandfather loved my grandmother. During this time, my grandfather went to Virginia Tech to receive a business degree, and soon after started his job at a telephone company.
Soon after that, in the '60's, my mom and aunt were born, and they quickly became my grandfather's entire world. Everything he did was to provide for them and to make sure that they were successful in life. In 1970, the telephone company moved my grandpa and the family of four to Richmond, Virginia. The house that they moved into would eventually be his place of death, the quaint little house with the long porch on West Grove Avenue in Chester. 46 years of family memories fill that house to the brim, I often wonder what the house would say if it could talk. Would it tell the stories of our many Christmases, which all had the same amount of love and tradition filling the living room?
My grandpa was an active part of the Chester community, a long time member of the Chester Civitan Club, Chesterfield County Republican Committee and the Chester United Methodist Men. There wasn't a topic that he enjoyed more than history, though politics was a close second, and the many books of his that surround the warm, welcoming den where he would eventually meet Jesus play a tribute to that. He inspired my love of politics. I can remember many Election Day's in my young life, sitting at the local high school, volunteering for the Republican Committee with him.
He always made time for me. He was always there to teach me how to ride a bike, help me with my math homework or just listen. I just adored him, and I did from the moment I saw him. My heart will always wonder how to go on without him, but I know that while physically, he may be with the angels, spiritually, he is here with me. How do I know this? A little over a day after he went to Heaven, I was driving down the road listening to my favorite rap playlist on Spotify. I was trying to keep my mind off of how heartbroken I was over the loss. Weirdly enough, a feeling washed over me that I can't explain. All of a sudden, I was changing the playlist to the soundtrack of one of our favorite movies to watch together, Singing In The Rain.
I'm not one who believes in paranormal activity, but there is no doubt in my mind that spirits come around every once in a while, and he was with me in the car that night. I could feel it, and said "Hi, Pop." and once I stopped at a stoplight, I played some of the voicemails I still have of his over the speaker in my car and listened to them until I got home. It was almost like we were having a conversation. Once I pulled in my driveway, I was scared to get out of the car, so I just sat there for a minute and cried. I hadn't cried much before then, but it felt good. It felt like I was finally actually feeling this terrible thing that had happened.
Anyone who knew Ed Henderson was blessed. Pop, there will never be a day that I will not miss you. Thank you for being the greatest person, role model and grandfather a girl could ask for, I love you with my whole heart.