Remembering a Love That Endures

By Will Graham   •   June 13, 2012

“I always thought it would get easier with time, but it hasn’t. I miss her more now than ever,” my grandfather, Billy Graham, shared as he talked about my grandmother, Ruth, who passed away in 2007. His booming voice, heard by millions around the world on TV, radio, and in person, now escapes as little more than a whisper.

Daddy Bill loves Tai Tai (the affectionate nicknames that we grandkids have for them). I guess one should probably say “loved” since she is no longer living here on earth, but that wouldn’t be accurate. He loves her with a love that cannot be destroyed by the physical separation of mortal death.

For more than 60 years as he traveled the world sharing a message of hope to the masses, she was his strength and inspiration on the home front, a practical joker who could make a princess and a beggar feel equally comfortable in the same room. He would refer to her as the greatest Christian he had ever known and comment that she knew the Bible far better than he did. She helped to prepare and equip him to go out and accomplish what he was called to do.

In my grandparent’s home, my grandmother—who had suffered years of declining health—had a room where she spent much of her time.  It was where she slept and where she studied the Bible. Several translations were spread across a large desk, all featuring big margins for taking notes. This room was also where she ultimately slipped into eternity.

My grandfather still stops as he makes his way past to look into her room, as though he might find her sitting up in bed with the mischievous grin and quick-witted comments that she carried until her final day on earth.

As he looks into that room, my grandfather still sees a simple woven wreath of Jerusalem thorns hanging on the wall amidst family photos. Directly across from it is the bed where my grandmother courageously faced the debilitating pain that followed her for years.

She would never complain about the pain, though you would occasionally see her bright eyes wince and her teeth grit. Rather than lamenting, she would point up to those thorns, similar to the sharp, long blades that were formed into the crown that Jesus wore at His crucifixion. “If He endured so much for me,” she would say, “I have nothing to complain about.”

It’s such a gift to have grandparents who impart profound truth without even trying, living in such a way that the lessons are impossible to ignore. Daddy Bill and Tai Tai have taught me so much about life, love and even pain and death, and I will be forever thankful for both of them.

Learn more about Ruth Bell Graham »

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  1. Bob says:

    My Mom passed from this life to the next the same year as Mrs. Graham. I miss her but know Jesus has her safely in his care. Thank you Jesus for loving us so. Praise be to God for our salvation in Christ.

  2. Bilsheba Nengnong says:

    Hello,I am from Northeastern part of India,but Billy Graham is very dear to our family we LOVE to watch his preaching. You are such a living example and I see JESUS in you [Dr Billy Graham].

  3. Vickie says:

    This is such a wonderful tribute to your grandparents. I pray this gets around the world, it is such a great testimony to those that don't know the Lord. So many marriages today end in divorce because they don't know HIM. God Bless.

  4. Judy says:

    Dr. Graham and Ruth will leave a wonderful legacy thru family and their teachings. Deepest thanks for life of compassion, comfort, and encouragement for those who've been in dark places of pain and sorrow. Your selfless acts of love touches many!

  5. Jeanette says:

    Just to hear your voice on radio, TV or personally in ministry, I am overjoyed. You have blessed my life for years. God Bless.

  6. Theresa says:

    Beautiful. A life well lived in the LORD. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Luke says:

    Thanks for this sharing. I am from China. Tai Tai in mandarin means 'wife' and in my family's tradition it refers to my great grandma. I don't know if there is some coincidence with the way you are calling Ms. Ruth Graham.

  8. Mel a says:

    Billy, Ruth lead me to the Lord after the crusade in Pittsburgh, Pa at age 19In the summer of 1952 in the lobby of the Hotel where the whole team was staying.I always watch the re-runs of the crusades over the years but sadly I have never seen Pgh

  9. Patti says:

    I have her book of poems,when I'm down I pick them up and begin to read.She was a beautiful soul;]If only I could look at life like she did,just maybe there would be a ray of light in my soul that would help me pass through these dark waters;]

  10. Diann says:

    I love reading about Dr. Billy and Ruth Graham. They both lived exemplary lives for us to learn from. Thank you for doing this, and to God, for enabling you through His Grace!