Daddy would have turned 57 today...
I dreamed the other night that Kenna met her Granddaddy at his cabin he built in Hickman County. I had to take Kenna to the doctor on Thursday because she was sick...she pooted in the doctor's office and the nurse said "You must've learned that from Granddaddy, huh?". I know she didn't know...but it still hurt my heart.
I look at pictures of Daddy that I have at my desk at work and I still can't believe he's gone. He had so much more to give in life. But God has a time for all of us...however, that doesn't make it any easier to accept the fact that he is gone.
I pray every morning on the way to work...I pray outloud, kind of have my own conversation with God. A few times a week, I ask God, "If Daddy is around, will you tell him that I said hi and that I miss him and love him?". I don't know if he knows I do that...we'll never know till we get there, but I really hope he does.
I wrote the following and shared it at Daddy's funeral - I think it shares my heart:
Christi and I had the best Daddy that God could have ever blessed us with. He always put us first; always made sure we had everything we needed. I would be so mad at myself if I did not stand up here and talk about Daddy, because he is the greatest man I have ever known. I do not know how to go day to day without him here, I’ve never had to do that before, but I will be strong and do it, because that is what he would want me to do. And even now that he is gone, I still want to make him proud, and I will strive to do that every day for the rest of my life.
I will not say that Daddy lost his battle with cancer, because nothing that Daddy went through in the past 8 months involved “losing”. Daddy fought so very hard, even when he was exhausted and weak, but we could not expect anything less from him. He fought so hard because he wanted to be here with us, no matter the pain or the sickness that it caused him, just for the chance to still be here sharing life with us.
Daddy was the hardest worker I have ever known. When he was working, fixing something, teaching us, building something, or coaching he put 110% of himself into it – he never shortchanged anything. If you knew Daddy, you knew this about him. When Christi and I were little, we would hide behind the kitchen door every night when Daddy got home from work and jump out and scare him when he walked in and every time he acted scared, as if he weren’t expecting it. I know Daddy must have been exhausted; he worked from sun up to sun down to make sure that we never needed for anything. Daddy taught me that there is nothing wrong with having to work hard for things in life, and that is how it should be. After I called him one night telling him I had not passed a part of the CPA exam and I was upset, he said “But Honey, how good will it feel when you do pass it, and you had to work hard for it? It wouldn’t mean nearly as much if you didn’t have to work hard for it” Daddy believed in hard work, and everyone around him could see that.
Daddy was always the first person I would call when I had news. Whether it was a good grade, finally passing the CPA exam, or simply making a wise decision, I would call him first because I knew that he would be the proudest. Daddy always expressed how important education is and he made sure that school always came first before softball or any other activity. I told Daddy a few months ago that I am pretty sure he was proud of me, and that is the highest compliment I would ever receive. One of the last things Daddy told me and Christi was that he is proud of us; that was so important to him for us to know that. I hope he knew how proud I am to be his daughter.
Daddy loved to tell stories, and he liked to tell him his way without anyone interrupting him. He got to tell one last story to me, Brian, Christi & Uncle Jeff on Wednesday night about the time Uncle Jeff sank his boat and trailer. That was such an enjoyment to him. I can still see him getting tickled to himself while telling stories and having to wait for the laugh to pass for him to continue.
I will miss Daddy’s laugh, hearing his greeting of “hey honey” on the other end of the line, his advice, his hugs, his excitement of sharing the updates on the cabin with us, his unwavering strength, his love, and simply his presence.
I could talk for hours, and I still don’t think that I would feel like I have said enough that he deserves to be said about him. As I write this, I wish there were perfect words and perfect sentences, so I can get across exactly how much he meant to me and how much he is loved. But all of you that are here know how wonderful he is, or else you wouldn’t be here with us today. I know that you all feel like you were lucky to have Daddy in your life, and his memory will stay with you forever. Daddy was not a man of many words, at least not all the time, but he sure did make an impression on so many lives.
Daddy would want me to tell everyone to not remember the David that we saw the last 8 months, but to remember the David the whole 55 years before he got sick. He would want Harold, Jimmy, Darryl and all the people down in Hickman County to remember the hunting, plowing, corn feeding, fish fry’s, and whatever else it was ya’ll did down there. He would want Billy & Floyd to remember the fishing they did together, their routine lunches and all the times they fixed our cars…even when we did things like put diesel in our cars instead of gas. He would want Uncle Jeff to remember him calling him Bruiser and all the crazy nights by a fire in their underwear. He would want his family to remember him as the caring, providing, loving, selfless man he was all the time. He would want Mama to remember good times like their 8 and a half mile hike in Gatlinburg just last May, him buying her roses every year for Valentine’s Day, and all of our wonderful vacations together. He would want Christi to remember all her “knuckle sandwiches” he gave her and times like when he built her sorority a race car that won and her bright purple and green tree house. He would want me to remember all of our softball trips together and wins, all of our rides together running errands that I began to cherish, and simply sitting in his office talking. And that is what I’m going to try and do. It will be very hard at first because I already just miss him so so much.
Daddy will never be forgotten, my children will always know who their Granddaddy was, and I will enjoy my life here on earth without his physical presence. But what a glorious day it will be when I get to say “Hey Daddy” in heaven, hug him, and hear him say “Hey honey” back.