On Wednesday, October 29th, 2003, one year ago today, my Opa (Grandpa) passed away peacefully in his sleep in his 77th year. His name was Cornelis (Case) Veldhuizen. He had a very profound impact on my life. I spoke at his funeral, and I wanted to share my words from that day last year.
“Over the years, this man has taught me many things about life. He has taught me to enjoy life. To have a little bit of fun at everything I do. To make a joke, or pull a small prank. He liked to live his life to the fullest. When playing pool against him, I remember how he would block my cue as I was about to shoot. He always had that happy grin on his face. There was never a dull moment, never any sadness in his eyes. His eyes were always gleaming with joy. If he became tired, he would go take a nap. An hour or two later, he’d be up and at it again.
He taught me how important it is to eat a bowl of cereal in the morning. He always said you need to eat your Special K to get your “Get up and go”. He could always beat me in an arm wrestling match, no matter what his age.
He taught me not to be afraid of death. That when we die, we will go to a wonderful place.
He also taught me to be extremely careful when using a Barbeque. Because as you all know, his barbeque caught on fire many years ago and burned off all his hair. Or so he used to tell me. That was the type of sense of humor Opa had. He always made us laugh.
And last but not least, the most important thing this man has taught me is how important it is to have a hero in your life that you will always remember. Opa is that special person in my life. When I look up into the stars at night, I can see him up there with a large grin on his face, giving me two thumbs up. He knows how much he means to me, and how much he will always mean to me. Some day we will meet again Opa. Thank you for being my hero.”