Friday, April 06, 2007

The Greatest Gift He Ever Gave...

My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago, but we would be celebrating his birthday on April 19th if he was still here. So, I will do a tribute to him and tell some stories from the past anyway!

First, here are some pictures of him below. I don't have many on this computer because we have not had it too long. Sorry the pictures are not better. This first picture (from left to right) is me, my mom, Gran (my grandmother, and Pops (my grandfather).

In this next picture, my dad and grandfather are over to the right.

And in this last picture from left to right, is my grandfather, my grandmother, my mom, and my dad.

My grandfather and I always shared the love of watermelon. As young as I can remember, we would "fight" over who would get to eat the most and who COULD eat the most!

I can also remember when I was really young (6 or 7) and we were still going to church over in Jackson with my grandparents. Every Wednesday night, we would go to church and eat supper before classes. My grandfather would always let me ride on his shoulders while we waited in line. Now, Grandaddy was a very tall man (6' 5"), so when it came time to walk through the door, he would pretend that he was going to make me hit my head, but at the last minute, he would duck down so I didn't.

So, as you may assume, Grandaddy liked to pick on me all the time, but I must admit that I liked to pick back at him. My grandmother told me when I was small that I would sit in the floor and pull the hair on his legs. She also says that she has a picture of me where I am wearing my Grandaddy's shoes and my night gown.

Through the years, my grandfather was a very smart yet silent man. He loved cars and knew lots about them, so we all tended to take new cars to him and let him check it out for us.

My grandfather also had a great love for Atlanta Braves baseball. I don't think he missed a game if he could help it. He loved to feed the birds in his yard. I can also remember trips to the park to feed the ducks with him and my grandmother.

I can remember the first time I realized that he wore dentures! I was just shocked. The most embarrassing part is that it was only about 4-5 years ago!

As my grandfather got older, his health began to get worse. He was a Type 1 diabetic (and now that I am learning about diabetes because of my new job I am realizing that his diabetes was not under control as well as it should have been.) At my sister's wedding in 1999, he was there, but not the healthiest. Then he seemed to get much better. At my wedding in June 2005, his health was much worse. He was able to make it to Memphis to be there, but you could tell that he didn't feel very well. It meant so much that he was there though.

Through the following months, his health got worse and worse, but his spirit optimistic. It was hard to see him sick. He was in and out of the hospital and the word came that he wasn't going to make it much longer. The last time I saw him, he was in the hospital and wasn't himself. It was so hard to see him like that. He passed away soon after and ended all of his pain and suffering. While this was a sad time in my life, for some reason, all I could think was how blessed my family was. Not because he had passed away, but for the fact that we would never have to wonder or guess if he was in Heaven of Hell. There is no question that my grandfather was a faithful Christian. There is no doubt in my mind that he is in Heaven. And that is why I say this is the greatest gift he ever gave his family through life and death!

Grandaddy, we miss you very much. I would give anything for Tatum to grow up knowing you, but we all know you are in a much better place! Happy Birthday!

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