Radiating Sunshine: In Loving Memory

Friday, January 3, 2014

In Loving Memory

This post is dedicated to 
Harry McCabe Wilgar, Jr.
December 18th 1928- December 24th 2013

So, as most of you know I primarily blog about happy everyday moments in life. But, every once in awhile there are some events that are hard to put a positive spin on. This past Christmas Eve, my Grandpa passed away. And just like that I was grandfather-less. 

We were waiting for him and my grandma to arrive at my Aunt's party but, instead we got a phone call that there was trouble getting him into the car. A little while later, my dad told my cousin and I that Grandpa had passed away. We immediately stood up and walked outside into the freezing cold Christmas Eve night. His death was too much for us to wrap our minds around. It wasn't until we went to the house to bring my grandma some of the food from the party and saw him there, did it fully sink in. I now live in a world, where my grandpa does not live. But, after I came to that conclusion I bowed my head and I prayed for him and I gave thanks to the Lord for his life. He lived an amazing and long life, that was full of love and discovery. He passed away not in a random hospital bed, but at home in his chair-- which, is an incredible blessing to be thankful for.

So, now we have planned his funeral and have gone through old photos. We have shared and cherished old memories. Instead of dwelling on his death, we have been thinking of his life. A life well lived. He was a son, a veteran, a rail road worker, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a friend… He meant something to everyone and was everything to someone. 

I'm so incredibly blessed to have gotten the opportunity to know my grandfather and have him be a part of my life for so many years. A memory that I will always cherish was when we went on a trip to Philadelphia, just the two of us. As I mentioned previously, he worked on the railroad and he absolutely loved trains. I remember as we boarded the train, he began to tell me little things about trains and how they worked. When we arrived in Philadelphia, we saw the Liberty Bell and spent hours walking around. But, it wasn't the touring of museums or getting cheese steaks that made that trip special. What made it special, was just my grandpa and me… going to a new place… on a train. I don't have any photos of us from that day, which makes me wish that was what was on my 8 year old self's mind. As I searched for a photo to share with you all. I came across this gem that was taken three Christmases ago. I still haven't mastered the no-pillow-sitting-up snooze, but I'm sure when I do I'll thank this guy for the technique. Every time I look at this picture, I can't help but smile… clearly we are the life of the party. 

We held the viewings yesterday and the amount of people that came out to say their goodbyes was breathe taking. Each viewing was filled with people and it became very clear that Grandpa lived a wonderful life and that he will forever be missed. It was hard to say goodbye to him, to look into the casket and realize that this would be the last time I would ever see him. But, as I looked at his face I was reminded of a happy phrase he would always say.

Everyone has a catchphrase, right? Something that they say frequently. Something that as their friend you almost always know they will say. Something that defines the life they lived, something memorable... Well, for my grandpa that phrase or response was "I'm a hundred percent." Whenever anyone asked how he was, his answer regardless of how he actually felt was always a hundred percent. How's that for positivity? Even when I was visiting him at the hospital a few months back, when I asked how he was his answer did not waiver. Even now I can still imagine him saying it, I can hear it so clearly. Its amazing that a simple saying will probably forever be ingrained into my memory, like he had just said it to me yesterday. We can all learn from my Grandpa.  I challenge myself and all of you, that the next time that someone asks how you're doing, instead of rattling off some complaints, think of all the positives in your life and see how they make you one hundred percent. 

"For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. 
So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's"
Romans 14:8

For his full obituary, click here.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss Alex! You have the best attitude, and it sounds like your grandpa is dancing with the angels in heaven. Praying for you and your family during this difficult time!


    1. Thanks Chelsea!! He definitely is. We kept saying that he got to celebrate with the birthday boy in Heaven.

      - Alex @ Radiating Sunshine

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this. One of my Grandpas died a couple years ago and it's still hard on me. Lots of hugs. This post was absolutely beautiful. He sounds like a wonderful man.

    1. Jane, he absolutely was! Thank you so much for your well wishes. It definitely is one of the hardest things I've ever gone through.

      - Alex @ Radiating Sunshine

  3. Hi Alex, I'm so sorry for your loss, but your post reminds me so much about my grandpa, who passed away almost 9 years ago. I also have this memory of a trip that only the two of us took together, and it feels so special until now. I used to cry every once in a while but now I'm kind of used to it, but I'm still a little bit sad around his birthday... But I do realize that he's in a better place now and that makes me happy. I'm sure your grandpa too!

    1. Thanks for the comment and kind words, Zia! Its amazing how one memory can really define your relationship with a person! Maybe our grandpas will meet one day :)

      - Alex @ Radiating Sunshine


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Remember, "every time you smile at a someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing"- Mother Teresa

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