Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Good Night, John Boy...

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" ~ Philippians 1:21-23

On Tuesday of last week, my precious Papa went to be with Jesus. I have had the privilege of 31 wonderful years with him and God gave me the last 7 weeks with him to say goodbye, knowing our time was short. What a blessing I had of knowing him, being raised by him, being loved by him, being taught by him, being reprimanded by him, being entertained by him, and being his pride and joy.  

 I had the privilege of speaking at his funeral. I wanted to honor him. I wanted to tell everyone that came to celebrate his life just how much he meant to me, but that is an impossible task. There is no way to express that love in a few short minutes and mere words. I tried to think of stories I could tell but I could hardly think of stories that don't involve my Nana and Papa. They have always been there. Loving, supporting, encouraging us.

From fried burritos and churros in the 1st grade cafeteria...while wearing a star badge with "Tiffany's Papa" on it, to cheerleading competitions, to birthday parties and my wedding day...they never missed a thing. It was important to them to be there...WE were important to them.

One of the joys of Growing up within 15 miles of my Nana and Papa was the frequent sleepovers. I'm not sure if they really wanted us or if my parents were just really good at pawning us off, but I think we spent the night at least once a month. We played go-fish, we swam, we drank Dr.Peppers like they were going out of style out of tiiiiny styrofoam cups, and without fail...every single night, They would tuck us in and once Papa was in his bed he would call out to us, "Good Night John Boy!" we would giggle and shout our goodnights back.
It took me a while to realize all children weren't as lucky as we were. That all children didn't have such wonderful role models of love, loyalty, support, encouragement and fun. As much as he loves us I don't think it could compare to the love he had for my sweet Nana. His high school sweet heart and bride of 58 years, we never wondered how deep his love was for her. I'm so grateful for their example of how to love, how to forgive, how to laugh together, how to take care of each other, and how to enjoy life together. For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health...til death do us part. What a privilege it is to have had that behavior modeled for us.
The reality is that I could never find the right words to tell you what my Papa meant to me and how he shaped my life. But I can tell you he was a good man. He loved God, he loved my Nana fiercely, he loved our family deeply and we are blessed because of him.

These days are so hard. I miss him greatly. My mom and my uncle Mike miss their dad...my Nana misses her high school sweetheart and the person she went to bed holding hands with every night...Taylor, Kristen and I miss our Papa....but we have assurance that we will see him again. And what fun he is having reuniting with his mom and dad!


My Papa is completely healthy now. He is talking with Jesus, probably heading up a round of golf or a baseball game...he's been up there a week so I have to feel like his new mansion is just about all labeled. He's getting things just how he wants it!
After all, he does things his way! The doctor told us 7 weeks ago we would have 2-4 weeks with him. He had 7 good weeks. 7 good weeks for us to laugh together, cry together, tell each other just how much we love each other...and I am so very grateful. Oh how I cherish his words and those moments together. Every one of them. And we were with him to the end. Holding his hands as he went from our hands into the hands of His savior who called him home.



 Papa, I love you, I miss you, and I promise you we will take good care of your bride!

"Good Night, John Boy!"


17 comments:

Kimberly said...

I too have an amazing Grandpa, and I am tearing up at my desk right now.....my thoughts and prayers are with you guys. Tear.

Shelley Lenay said...

Bawling like a baby...that is what I am doing right now. Our stories are so similar it is uncanny. We are very lucky women to have (had) such amazing people in our lives. My hope is that I can carry it on in my Grandfather's honor!

Chic Runner said...

Thank you so much for sharing your memories and your heart with us. I will be thinking of your family during this time and I'm so glad that you had such a great mentor in your life to share laughs, memories and love with!

Kara said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my Papa last month. I know everyone grieves over the loss of a grandparent, but I think it is especially hard when you grew up so close to them like we both have seemed to do. Prayers for your family!

Katie Norwood said...

Love you, friend! This is a precious and fitting tribute. You were lucky to have one awesome grandfather, and he was lucky to have such a lovely granddaughter. Praying for you!

Natasha said...

i am so sorry for your loss sweetie...looks like you had an incredible grandfather and one with an extremely close relationship--very lucky indeed ;)

Adrienne Saunders said...

So sorry for the loss of your Papa, Tiffany. I think what you wrote here captured him perfectly! And your photos are adorable and priceless. Prayers to you and your family.

Samantha said...

I sure am sorry to hear about your loss. So glad that you had a wonderful papa.

Jennifer said...

What an amazing post you wrote! I am so sorry for your loss, but so glad that you have so many wonderful memories with your Papa.

Liz said...

What beautiful words, friend. I can't know how much you loved and were loved by Papa but I know that if he's part of who taught you the fierceness of the love and loyalty you show your friends than it was a big, big love. He was a wonderful man, husband, dad and Papa. We miss him with you.

Lauren said...

this post is beautiful & made my breath catch in my throat. I still have all 4 of my grandparents living and each day I have with them is such a special gift.

what a precious relationship you had with your grandpa, and how fabulous that you can celebrate his life & the fact that he is walking with Jesus.

hugs to you my friend!

Sara said...

Oh Tiffany. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine what you must be going through. I love my grandparents immensely and feel the same way about having them in my life. This is such a beautiful post/tribute and I'm sure your eulogy was beautiful and would have made your grandpa so proud. Love you and keeping you and your family in my prayers.

In this wonderful life... said...

I'm so sorry for your loss! What a blessing he was to you and you to him! beautiful post.

Christine said...

So sorry for your loss! He looked like a lot of fun to be around!

Lisa said...

So sad to hear about your lost, will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

This post is a beautiful tribute to your papa, and I'm sure your eulogy was just as great if not better. He sounds like such an amazing person and role model for you. I didn't know him (nor do I even know you!) but this brought me to tears. So very well said, and such a great way to keep his memory alive.

CASEY said...

i've admired your relationship with your grandpa from afar and am so sad to hear of your loss. each picture you post and each word you speak of your grandparents speaks volumes about your relationships. i pray that the coming weeks and months are full of happy memories and sweet fellowship. i'll be praying for your sweet heart!

annalee said...

I am so sorry for you and your family's loss. These precious stories and his legacy live on in such powerful ways. What a great granddad and man!