My Funny Papaw was indeed funny! He made us laugh often, sometimes because he was trying to, but many times when he wasn't trying to at all! Even in the last several weeks when he was so very sick, he brought a smile to my face each time I visited. On Sunday evening, four of his oldest grandkids stood around his hospital bed and remembered the time he fell into the Christmas tree when his chair tipped over. He denied that he remembered it happening, but I think he really did remember and didn't want to admit it! I also remember the time that he thought he was very funny calling me an 'old maid' because my younger sister was married and I wasn't. Of course, I didn't find him very funny that time, I was only 22!!
The other thing that stands out in my mind about Funny Papaw is that he always told me how pretty I am. I know that all grandpas think their granddaughters are pretty, and he probably said it to every one of his many granddaughters, but it still meant a lot to me. In the past four or five years, I never once saw him that he didn't say "You get prettier every time I see you!" He was funny, but he was also kind and loving.
Last Sunday when I visited him in the ICU at the hospital, he said it to me again. "You're so pretty, you get prettier every day." My heart melted and I joked with him that no one else ever says that to me. (By the way, someone should really take over the duty of maintaining my self-confidence!) I started to cry and he consoled me saying "Oh sweetie, God will get us through this." I told him I hated seeing him so sick and he said he knew that, but God had blessed us so much. Then I told him that I was a little jealous because he was probably going to get to heaven before me and get to hold my baby girl before I would. He said "I'll love on her, oh, I love her." He repeated it over and over, and I believe he meant it. I'm so glad I got those moments with him. Later that evening, he repeated in his sleep, "I've gotta find that baby, I've gotta find that baby." I know he meant Kinley. Over the next few days he became more confused and less alert. On Thursday afternoon, he passed into eternity surrounded by his wife, all of his sons, and many of his grandkids.
I had a vision as he was struggling for his last breaths of my sweet Kinley running through the fields of heaven saying "Hold on Grandpa, Jesus promised I could be at the gate when you get there....I'm coming!!" As he passed away, my cousin turned to me and said "He's holding your baby." What a precious thought that was to me. I could see her in that moment, blonde curls bouncing as she ran up and jumped into his arms. He was whole and healthy and smiling the biggest smile I've ever seen. As he swung Kinley around and laughed, she giggled and said "No wonder my Mama thought you were so funny!" He of course said to her, "You look like your Mommy, and you're so very pretty." Of course, I have no idea how it really happened, but I like to think something like this took place at heaven's gate.
I'll miss you so much my Funny Papaw. I love you and am so honored to be your granddaughter. I hope you know that you loved us well and you were very well loved!!
My Daddy and My Funny Papaw
Mamaw, Papaw, Funny Papaw, and Grandma Pat with Jacob and I on our wedding day