Saturday, October 03, 2015

I Thought He Would Live Forever

Today when I was scrolling through Facebook a picture popped up on my screen.  It's a picture I have seen hundreds of times, it is one of my favorites of my Papa.  He is sitting in my Aunt Glenda's kitchen and his signature smile is filling up the picture.  First it made me smile and then it made me tear up...I thought he would live forever.  Okay not really, but I just couldn't imagine him not being there.  I would like nothing more than to have just a few more days with him so that he could meet Zane, so that he could see me happy, so that I could say goodbye again.The last weeks of his life were at a very bumpy place in my story,  I was trying to put pieces of me back together and I missed opportunities to say goodbye.  I thought I had more time...I thought he would live forever.

We were beyond blessed to have had him with us for as long as we did.  For him to have been active and involved in our lives and the lives of our children is a gift that many do not get.  I will forever be grateful that my boys had him as a great-grandfather, a role model and a friend.  They have solid memories of their own of him, not ones they have to manufacture from pictures.  He was there to welcome them each into the world just moments after they arrived , wearing his "hospital Suit" of course.  He filled their heads with silly stories and tales from his childhood. I loved watching him with them.  When Zane is older I will tell him about this man, this gentle giant who would have loved him so much.

When I close my eyes and think about him what I remember most were his hands.  He had the biggest hands and longest fingers I have ever held. He wasn't afraid or embarrassed to touch us, to hold onto us or even pull us onto his lap even when we were grown.  He wanted us to know how much he loved us. If I listen closely I can hear him laugh, he loved to laugh!  I can smell his aftershave and the snuff on his breath.  If I smell ribs cooking on the smoker I still expect to see him standing over it with his overalls on.  No one does them like he did!

What you saw is what you got. He didn't beat around the bush.  He loved without condition and protected his own.  I remember when I told him I was thinking about leaving my marriage he said, "honey do I need to kick his ass?" At over 90 he would have given it his best shot if my answer had been yes....he thought he was indestructible, so did I.  In the words of Randy Travis.... I thought he could walk on water.

He never missed an opportunity to tell us that he loved us or that he was proud  of us.  And he made sure that not only did he tell us, but that we heard him and that we knew it.

I miss him everyday.  I know that he is watching over us and that brings me comfort.  I know no one can live forever, but I thought he would....I hoped he would.


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