Jun 3, 2013

In Loving Memory.....

This weekend was tough.
I get so worried about the feelings and emotions of others that when it's most important to realize what is making my own heart ache......I push it way down into my gut and move forward.
It's not until I am pleading with others to "just be honest" with me that I finally realize I am not being honest with myself.

Today, unfortunately, marks one whole year without one of the most influential men in my life, my Papa.

My mother's father, he stood out from the rest of my family as a man among men.
A gentle soul.

This time last year, I fought back tears to be the rock for everyone else as our world crumbled around us.
But in the quiet of my home, in isolation, I let it out.
My heart is so heavy and my head so dizzy that I need that release.
I need to be vulnerable.

This time last year, I was assisting my beautiful Nana sort through the details of a funeral when no one else had the strength to do so.
I picked out funeral attire, coordinated the procession, booked flights and gave my shoulder to cry on without hesitation.

The funeral opened with a speech I wrote and a chosen song that I felt defined the glory of Papa's life.
One filled with love, and perserverance and grace.

This was my speech.

I wanted to first thank everyone who has rearranged their schedules this afternoon to say goodbye to my grandfather, Charles Kyle.  Your love and support has made this transition a little less painful. All of the familiar faces in front of me have one common thread, and that is Papa.  He is who brought us together and the glue that has kept us together all these years.

I wanted to start off by repeating a small proverb I recited just before Papa passed away Sunday night.

When you were born

You cried and the world rejoiced

Live your life in a manner

So that when you die the world cries, and you rejoice.

I feel as though these words perfectly encapsulate Papa’s life.  I was lucky enough to have him in mine for nearly 30 years, and in that time, I never saw him complain or get upset.  He was always looking out for everybody else, always wanted everyone to be happy and having a good time.  I was envious about his capability to take all things in stride, and never get stressed out about difficult situations.

When we were kids, he would pull you aside, slip you a 20 dollar bill and say, “You always need a little walking money.”  On the weekends, while we were visiting, I would look forward to a hearty, Southern breakfast that Papa had started cooking early so it would be ready when we woke up.  And everyone could always anticipate the 4th of July being a big celebration at his house with the entire family.

It was the little gestures Papa did, without question, on a daily basis that made him the saint he was.  His charm and grace was instantly infectious with anyone he met.  Even in his last few days in the hospital, he chatted up a pretty nurse while shielding his family the best he could that anything could be wrong with him.  He never once let on that his pains were anything that anyone else should be concerned about.  He just kept going about daily life, keeping the house maintained, and keeping Nana happy.

Looking back on the course of events from this last week, it is painfully obvious that he fought up until his last breath to not let himself be a burden to anyone else.  Instead of admitting defeat a long time ago, and potentially spending months isolated in a hospital, he continued to love, and give, and work hard each day to make all our lives better.

Then, on his final day, something happened that in my mind was truly extraordinary.  As we quietly came to the conclusion it would be best to let Papa sleep, an agreed upon time of 7pm seemed appropriate, as 7’s were very luck and predominant in Papa’s life. As his family gather around the bed just prior to 7, the nurses came in to give us a heads up that regardless of our decision, he may not make it to 7.

In true Papa form, he made sure not to let his ailments be a burden to his wife, or his family, and he exited our lives.  It was as if he heard our conversations and didn’t want us to make that decision for him.  The timing, although incredibly sad, was astonishing.  He allowed the worry, and fear from his family wash away, so we can move forward with our lives and celebrate the miraculous person he was.  He was smart, and wise, and I would give anything to hear him tell one more story, but we have enough wonderful memories to fill another 78 years and then some. 

I am proud, and honored, to say he was my Papa.

We will always love you Papa.
Watch over us and keep us safe.
Love always, Tia