Saying Goodbye is Never Easy
Today, I said a final goodbye to the only man I knew as dad. My mom, siblings and I lived with my grandparents until I was 16. He was the man who taught me to love music, how to share and to keep things in order. My grandfather touched the lives of thousands in his role as a band director for the West Memphis pubic school system.
There is so much that I could say about this man who truly loved God, music, family and fun.
My aunt asked me and my cousins to do a tribute to my grandfather. Here is my transcript:
I’d like to share a memory of my grandfather that impacted my life. After I finished my undergraduate degree, I moved back in with my grandparents. One day I was on the phone with a friend venting about my frustrations with my graduate course work. So, I’m assuming he overheard me because the next day, he came into my room and brought me a poster. I’ll never forget when he gave me that poster and he told me to hang it up and read it every day for encouragement. He also told me to keep pressing through school and look for the bright spots where I could shine. Lesson number 14 on this list says, “Don’t ever stop learning and improving your mind.” He continually encouraged me to be a life long learner and I’m ever grateful for his influence.
Some of us have called you father, brother, co-worker and friend. I knew you as granddaddy and grand you were. You were more of a father to me and my siblings. You were our provider, teacher, musician and comedian til the end.
You provided for us and always ensured that we had all we needed, wanted and even more
You taught me how to love, forgive share and keep things in order
You shared your love of music with us and inspired us to use our musical talents to uplift others
You always found a way to make others chuckle even up to your final days
I am ever grateful for the time we shared and the memories we made
Although you are gone, your memory still lives on. The music still plays on.
Thank you for pouring into me so I can pour into others.
In September, I was scheduled to speak at a Ladies Day “Anchored in Christ” at his church in West Memphis. Naturally, the event was for ladies and he was not supposed to be there. But, he insisted that he come to hear me. One of the coordinators in charge told him that he could come if he assisted with the event. So, my grandfather got up early, got dressed and was there before me helping out at the event. When it was my time to speak, I saw him sitting in the sound room watching me. It truly warms my heart to know that he made time out of his Saturday morning for me. It’s one of the last memories I have of him and by far the best. Below is a slideshow that I made for his going away celebration. A few days before his passing, he called me and asked me to listen to the first song (Jesus Paid it All) that is in the video. He told me to save it to my list of songs. And that song, I will hold forever in my heart. We were all touched by the kind hearted, gentle spirited witty man. He will truly be missed.