NewBeginnings Gayla 03KENTUCKY (4/27/13) - Now and again, I will be writing about some of the people that have entered my life as blessings from the Lord. These precious people have now passed away, but they are never far from my memory. These individuals made such a positive impact in my life. I want to share them with you. This is my way of honoring their legacy and passing their wisdom on to others.

This week, I want to write about my grandfather (loving referred to as granddaddy). This week marks the 23rd anniversary of his death. Even though he has been gone for so long, the time we spent together and who he was to me is with me always.

I want to take you back, 23 years ago, to the day of his funeral.

I remember that day as if I had experienced it yesterday. It was April 27, 1990. It was a grey, dreary day. As we drove off in the car, on the way to the church for his funeral, I closed my eyes and pinched myself to see if I would by chance wake up from this nightmare. I then opened my eyes and realized that this was no bad dream.

As I looked out of the car window at the rain shower, I closed my eyes again. I could still hear his voice the last time I spoke with him over the phone.

“Hey. How is my girl?”

“I’m good,” I answered back. “Will I see you tomorrow?”

“Yes,” he replied. “I will pick you up after school and we will go car riding in the country like we always do.”

I smiled as I twirled the red phone cord in my hand.

“Okay,” I said.

Then something happened that I would never forget - a long pause. The silence was unusual and uncomfortable. I broke the silence.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Alright,” my granddaddy replied. “See you then.”

I hung up the phone never to have another conversation with him again. Twelve hours later, he would be pronounced dead from cardiac arrest.

I abruptly came out of my daydream when my family and I arrived at the church. The church was an older, small building made of tan stone. We slowly moved our way from the car and climbed the tan brick steps into the church. My grandmother led the way.

I remember walking down the light blue carpeted aisle that lay between two sides of light blue cushioned pews. We stopped at the front of the church where my grandfather’s casket lay. I glanced down at him. He wore a light blue suit. He appeared to have a smile on his face, which I viewed to be appropriate because he always wore a smile.

Granddaddy was a short, dark-skinned man with grey hair and brown eyes that had a grey ring around them. His usual attire would be dress pants, a button-up shirt with his glass case in the pocket, and a baseball cap. His favorite colors were brown or blue, so his outfit would normally be one of those colors.

As I stood there, my mind wandered again to the special times we had shared. I remembered the times that he took me bowling. I had begun to learn how to bowl, under his close supervision. He would watch me attentively, instructing me on how to hold the ball.

I remembered the trips to the local convenient store where he would buy me my favorite drink. I remembered the Sunday afternoons when he would stop by my house to eat Sunday dinner with us. He’d always come in high off life, God, and his loud Gospel music that had been playing in his blue Ford station wagon. I remembered the conversations under our shad tree in the summer time.

I closed my eyes tighter as I felt the hot tears starting to form in my eyes.

It’s all gone, I thought to myself.

I was 13 years old when my grandfather passed away. As I look back on things now that I am an adult, I now know that he is not gone. He is always in my heart. I feel extremely blessed to have had his presence in my life. My grandfather lived a good, long life. Life had not always been easy or fair to him. Nonetheless, he had a zest for life! He loved people and he never met a stranger. He had the love of God living inside of him.

My granddaddy taught me how to be my own individual. He taught me not to be a “clone” of anyone else; to be comfortable in my own skin. He taught me it was okay to be different. He urged me to always love myself even in the midst of another’s negativity toward me. He also taught me to not judge someone by what they look like. I credit me celebrating my uniqueness and my being open minded to him.

I thank my Heavenly Father for loving me enough to have sent someone to me as amazing as my granddaddy!

A grandfather is someone you never outgrow your need for…
                Author Unknown

Check out my latest blog, “Why are we fearful?”

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