A tribute to Major Chester Danielson

By Rachel Thieme – 

It’s Wednesday of Holy Week.

Two days ago I watched my grandpa, Major Chester “Chet” Deroy Danielson, take his very last breath on earth.

Major Chet Danielson with granddaughters Hanna Danielson (left) and Rachel Thieme (right).

Major Chet Danielson with granddaughters Hanna Danielson (left) and Rachel Thieme (right).

It was hard to have absolutely no control in that moment. To see his heart rate descend lower and lower in a matter of seconds. To know it was coming and to not be able to do anything. I wanted to pause the moment. I held on tightly to my brother’s arm because that was all I could do.

And then he took his last breath.

The heart rate monitor read “0.” He was no longer with us.

What must it have been like for Mary and the disciples watching Christ on the cross?

Confusion, doubt, fear, sadness, pain, and such a powerlessness.

They probably clung to each other because that was all they could do. Wondering if this was his last breath and hoping it wasn’t.

If only they could hold on to him for a few moments longer.

My grandpa fell on Saturday. He had to get seven staples in his head. My mom and uncle jumped into their car to drive up to Fresno from L.A. but called him on the way.

“I’m in his hands,” My grandpa told her—the last coherent words she’d hear him say on this earth. “Whatever happens, I’m in his hands.”

And my grandpa was in God’s hands. He let him hold on until he could be surrounded by all five of his children along with his wife of 61 years. We sang him hymns until he left us. Maybe more for our benefit than his. God’s grace is boundless.

Jesus was in his hands, too. Jesus had counted the cost and deemed us worthy to suffer for. Jesus showed what unwavering faith and trust is.

But wait, there’s more…

There’s more for my grandpa. He had such faith and peace and hope and trust because he knew there was more for him…because Jesus died on that cross so there could be more.

Our victorious King conquered death so there could be life for those who believe.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Sharing is caring!