On February 24th my Papa passed away. He had been very sick for a few weeks and my mom was able to be there with him and my Grandma. He was one of my favorite people. I am actually pretty sure he was a favorite of every person he came across. I am so lucky that I had so many chances to spend time with him during my life and those are the memories I am going to hold on to now that he is gone. He was a man who believed in being kind, doing the right thing, working hard, being humble, making family a priority, and never growing up. He was the best example.
He and my Grandma were married for 54 and a half years and anyone who has talked to me about them knows that I hope to have a marriage just like theirs one day. My cousins and I remember one time that Papa left the house and Grandma was disappointed that he forgot to kiss her goodbye. A few minutes later he walked back in and said “I forgot to kiss you goodbye!”. They were so lucky to have a marriage where goodbye kisses were still the expectation up until the very end. I will always remember the story about how he picked my Grandma up in a cattle truck on their first date and fell asleep while they were at the drive-in movie. Thankfully, she saw something in him after that date.
He retired from his job as an electrician several years ago, but he never truly retired. He always found work to do and spent the last few years helping family on the farm. Besides being with his family, driving the tractor is what made him the very happiest. When we were in New York in November, Papa took us to the fields and took us to see “his office”. He took us each for a ride in the tractor and I am so thankful that we got to spend that day with him. I knew when the two of us were riding in the tractor and I was listening to him tell me stories that I was going to hold on to them for a long time.
He was someone who appreciated the simple things in life. He was never in a rush when he was driving (usually across the country to visit family) and he always enjoyed the view. He would sit by the campfire for hours, want to go to the lake to watch the sunset, and sneak cookies before dinner. Some of my favorite times with him were feeding horses apples in Canada with him, being surprised (every year) when we lived in Virginia and he and my Grandma would surprise me on my birthday, going to the gravel pit with him, any time he would let us drive the lawn mower when we were little, riding on the tractor with him, and all of the family trips Grandma and Papa joined us on. He really knew how to make everyone he came across smile and he always found a way to joke around.
It is really hard to believe that it was his time to go because it happened so quickly, but I know that is how he would have wanted it to be because he was able to do everything that he loved up until the very end. As hard as it is to believe that he isn’t here anymore, I know that God needed him in Heaven more than we needed him here, which is pretty incredible. I know that my family is so lucky that we got to spend as much time as we did with him. I am so comforted knowing that he is in Heaven watching over all of us now and that he will get to be with us all of the time instead of only some of the time. Everyone who knows me knows that I love looking back on pictures, but there has never been a time that I have loved them more. I wanted to put some of my favorites on here so that I can look back at this whenever I want to. I know that memories are going to be hard for a while, but they will also be there to make me smile when I need it. My family and the world lost a good one, but I know he’s in Heaven now ❤
This is a page from a project Papa did in high school. The quote says, “The good earth brings us directly or indirectly all the vital necessities of life. It is the farmer or the farm laborer who has the important job of producing the food and other materials so necessary for our daily life. Farming, therefore, is not to be considered solely on the basis of financial returns, but also as an opportunity to help other people.” I love the last sentence because he truly lived in a way that helped others as a farmer, electrician, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and stranger.
It doesn’t matter how many more people I meet in my life, he will always be one of the very best.