Remembering Papa

My grandfather passed away yesterday.

I am overwhelmed by sadness, but I find comfort in memories, stories, and advice he provided me through the years.

I have been trying to find the right words to describe him, and my vocabulary has failed me.  I have tried to draft a story to catch his essence, but how do you tell a story about the best storyteller you’ve met?  I can’t possibly do him justice.

He was a kind, principled, persistent man – always among the first to offer to help someone in need.  He modeled how to help for the sake of doing the right thing, not for glory.  He taught me life lessons – some that I tried to share with students, friends, and coworkers.  I try to hold myself to the standard he set. I fail far more often than I succeed, but I am better for at least trying.

I miss the twinkle in his eye when he started to tell a story — the enjoyment in his face building as he delivered beat after beat — and his grin when he delivered the punchline of the story.  I could hear him tell the same story, over and over, dozens of times, and always fall back into the audience — as though I was hearing his story for the first time.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease.  I look forward to the day modern medicine finds a way to knock it down.

I wish I could watch just one more Braves game with him, listening to his laugh as he predicted Bobby Cox’s next move.  I wish I could hear one more story.  Just one more time.  I wish that I could talk to him and tell him how much I love him, just one more time.

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