There is no denying it - my Dad was a great man. He loved us unconditionally, he always had a listening ear, wanted to make sure everyone was doing their best, treated my Mom with the utmost respect and love, and thought his grandchildren hung the moon. I'm so sad for a million reasons but one of the reasons is because my boys won't remember how great he was besides stories that I tell them. Even at age 6, Hughes will only remember a few things.
The last time I saw Dad alive was when I was having lunch with him and Mom on the Thursday before he died. He was wearing his normal Auburn attire. Dad and I agreed that Mom is always running late and how it drives us both nuts. Dad talked about how proud he was of David and how excited he was for our move to DC. Before he left, he got right down on eye-level with Banks and said "PopPop loves you" while pointing to him. He always left the boys like this. I gave him a kiss and then they were off to the creekhouse to drop off some things. That was it.
What I am thankful for is the relationship that I had with him. It was a great one. Sure, every time I called home and he answered he immediately said "here's your mama". He wasn't one to chat on the phone. Even his voicemail on his cell phone says "leave a message". I can understand why the majority of my high school friends were scared to death of him. He had a gruff voice, said few words, and had a dry sense of humor. Not until later in life did they realize what a softie my Dad really was.
He was a great shag partner and we knew each other's moves. He made the best collards and loved to grill. He was one of the hardest working men I have ever known and truly enjoyed it. Do you know any other retired airline pilots who also practice pharmacy in their spare time?
He was the most comfortable in an old Auburn t-shirt and khaki shorts. He saw no need in trying to impress people. He did get dressed-up but only if Mom told him he needed to. He wore his hats too high on his head and would often push his glasses halfway up his forehead. And he always had on his Auburn belt.
Hughes and PopPop
In Hilton Head at the beach last summer. We spent a week with PopPop and BecBec just relaxing and enjoying the pool and beach.
At Disney World, starting the Buzz Lightyear ride. I think PopPop had the most fun. We also spent a week with them down in Orlando this past November.
Last family photo at the Wimberly Dinner during Christmas.
I've been told that one day the pain won't be as painful and the emptiness won't feel so empty. Right now, I feel like I am only a shell. One day the sun will shine again and I will find my smile but for now I'm taking it hour by hour, day by day.
My Dad was a great man.