Over a month ago my Papa – the man who stepped in to be a dad to me so many times – went to heaven. I wrote this for my gram and I read it at his celebration of life service. I wanted to put it here.
Im not going to say “forgive me if i cry” im going to say “bare with me when i cry”
February 9 2019 was a hard hard hard day. A part of our family is gone. Our family will not be the same without our honey, our dad, our papa, our brother, our uncle, our cousin, our son, our friend – but in our weakness we are made strong because we have each other and jesus. Jesus is weeping with us – he is in our pain – but he is also rejoicing that my pops is finally with him for forever.
On facebook someone said
“Isn’t it a wonderful assurance to know that he is not only in our memories but in our futures”
i am in awe of how many situations we face in life that are walking dichotomies: my heart is grieving for a piece of itself that has been lost, yet my soul is leaping for all of papa that has been found in heaven. I am reassured that all of his memories are even better in heaven – and he gets to remember all of us with his smile on his face.
i am sad, and i am hurting. but if i was not either of these things – it would mean that i have not loved. I am honored that i was granted the privilege of loving my papa, and am proud to have been loved by him, because he loved so good. He loved so so so good. He was such a gentle man. God used my papa to protect so many hearts.
He loved his family so much, and he would talk and talk and talk about us. the way he talked about his family was in a different way then he talked about other things; he always seemed so well pleased with us.
I will remember my papa as a man that mowed and had me mow the grass every week in the summer.
– as a man that taught me how to drive a boat and fish, but stayed away from teaching me how to drive a car.
– as a man that could make your whole day with his smile.
– as a man that wore long socks and always listened to his honeys stories over and over without questioning.
– as a man that listened to me talk and talk and talk and always said the right thing even if it was nothing at all.
I will remember my papa as a man that brought me out of myself, and continually reminded me who i am.
– as a man that loved his wife, and let her tell him all of her good deals after shopping.
I will remember my papa as a preacher man that played games on his ipad for fun.
I will remember my papa as a man that told story after story with enthusiasm – like he’s never said the story before (which we all know, was not the case).
– as a man that stood tall in the face of adversities, and did not let his weakness define him.
– as a man that used his bible as a sword, a man that looked straight into his Father God’s face, and said “I am about Your business. Lead me.”
I will remember my papa in the stories that i have been told about him – how he moved his family of 4 children across the country in a van – all because God told him and my gram to do so.
I will remember my papa as a man that saw good in all the people he met. A man who looked for common ground in all he encountered.
I will remember my papa as a brave, kind, gentle, mighty man.
I will remember my papa forever.
I keep asking “how do you just keep going? how do you just keep going?” and the best i have heard to this question is “you just do.” and we have, 5 days later and we have just kept going. 5 weeks will pass, 5 months, 5 years, will have passed, and then we will look back in 50 years and realize that all of these moments have passed too – and we have just kept going.
I am sad that all the days to come will be spent without him here with us – and i am thankful for all the days that have passed that he was here with us.
Pain is here – and pain will come again, i promise. But we were not promised a life free of pain – that my papa knew well. But we were promised a life full of peace, joy, and love – which my papa also knew very well. 50 years from now i hope that we are still telling stories of my papas great, or rather Good, legacy. I will tell my children about his smile, and his luscious hair. I will tell them about his heart, and i will teach them about the jesus he taught me about.
I will tell them that he was a mighty man of god that loved his family and friends and stood with them through it all.
I am hopeful for the future – because i know he is waiting for us, and i know that until we see each other again he will be championing us on from heaven.
I love you papa.
We will never be able to fill your shoes or make the same footprints quite the same way you did – but we will live our lives walking right behind them, knowing you are proud of us.