Life

PawPaw’s Eulogy: A Tribute

September 19, 2017

Many of you who follow me on Instagram saw that my PawPaw died a week ago today (September 12). He was an incredible human and role-model for me. I was lucky enough to live in the same city as him and my MeMe, so we were all extremely close. Tuesday afternoon, during the hustle and bustle of funeral planning, I volunteered to write and deliver his eulogy. I am not a gifted writer by any means, but I believe I can get my point across. Plus, I thought it would be better to share my experience growing up with him then have someone who didn’t know him as well do it.

This post is primarily for my family, but maybe someone else out there will find it helpful.

Before I begin, I just want to thank everyone who came today to pay their respects to my PawPaw, JC. Whether he was your husband, daddy, PawPaw, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin, friend, or just someone you have heard about from one of us, I am sure he made an impact on you. He would be so humbled by all of you here today, and I have heard from so many of you how much you admired him.

For those of you who do not know me, I am one of JC’s 8 grandchildren. When I received the call Tuesday morning, I experienced a wave of bittersweet emotions. I was devastated knowing I won’t get to feel his embrace here on Earth again, but I know that he is rejoicing in Heaven with our Father who he served every day of his Earthly life.

When I think of my PawPaw, a few words come to mind- faithful, hard-working, strong, humble, kind, funny, handsome and loving.

My PawPaw is one of the strongest Christian men I have ever met. He lived his life faithful to God and to his family. JC met my MeMe, Kathryn, when he was 20, and they were married 2 years later. Together, they had three beautiful daughters Twila, Sherry, and my mom Pam. My mom would say he was a strict but loving father. They were at church every time the door opened. He shared the gospel with strangers and his family and helped lead countless people to Christ. He loved my MeMe with all his heart and in February they celebrated 71 years of marriage.

PawPaw was hard-working. He worked until he was 85. Later in life, he was a security guard for Texas Instruments where he spent hot summers outside monitoring the parking lot in his golf cart. There, he kept himself busy greeting people and feeding the birds. If you knew him during this time, you know all about his birds. He loved them and even worried about how they would eat when he left.

My PawPaw was strong. He was a man who could bring you to your knees with a handshake. He was so strong, yet humble and mild at the same time. I can’t think of a time I ever saw him angry, well except for the time my brother almost blew up their house by leaving the gas on. He had a way of speaking to you with authority but gentleness at the same time. Even last Christmas, he knocked my husband, Colton’s hat off his head and said “don’t wear a hat at the table, boy” but he did so with a smile.

PawPaw had a great sense of humor. A few stories come to mind, so bare with me. When he met Colton for the first time while we were in high school, the first words out of his mouth, after a strong handshake of course, was “Jessica, I thought you said he was handsome.” Even in his late 80s his sense of humor was still sharp. A few years ago MeMe was out of town and PawPaw was home by himself, so I called him on my way home to check on him. He cried on the phone and told me how much he missed MeMe, so I turned my car around to head over to his house. After about 2 minutes of this, he laughed and said “I’m just kidding. You believed me, didn’t you?” I had no idea he still had that in him.

I have the greatest last memory of him and I am so thankful that God gave our family a wonderful night together just a few days before he called him home. Colton and I were out of town for Mom’s birthday again this year, so my sister-in-love and I planned a birthday dinner for our family for when we got back. Last Friday, we had a little fiesta, complete with tacos, enchiladas, beans, rice, and sopapilla cheesecake. We all ate together and each had our own time to talk with PawPaw. He complimented me on my cooking abilities, asked for seconds, and even seemed surprised I did it “all by myself”. I think he still thought of me as his little redheaded granddaughter and forgot that I am 30. At one point during the night, we talked about what my dad would be called once Tyler and Britany’s baby is born. It was the hot topic of the night and everyone had their opinion. After going back and forth on a variety of names, some completely ridiculous, PawPaw chimed in “I like grand daddy”. We had no idea he was paying attention, but that solidified it for all of us. My dad would be grand daddy.

That night, he was able to tell all of us he loved us, even my precious mother-in-law who stopped by. Britany and I had no idea this would be our last time with PawPaw when we planned it, but it ended up being a beautiful, final memory for all of us.

I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up with two sets of grandparents, but the love I received from MeMe and PawPaw was far more than I could ever imagine from multiple sets. He was there for every school play, church performance, graduation, wedding and other life events from the time I was born. I am so lucky to have experienced 30 beautiful years with my PawPaw.

I will miss calling and hearing him ask “How do you do? And answering back “I do fine” I will miss his beautiful blue eyes and incredible smile, the way he laughs, his famous train whistle, how much he loved MeMe’s cooking, celebrating our almost twin birthdays together every year, and so much more.

I am going to end with a quick Ed Sheeran lyric

“So I’ll sing Hallelujah. You were an angel in the shape of my PawPaw.

When I fell down, you’d be there holding me up

Spread your wings as you go.

And when God takes you back, we’ll say Hallelujah.

You’re Home”

You’re home, PawPaw. I love you, and I can’t wait to hug you again. Thank you for being such an incredible role model and support to me. We all miss you and love you so much.

 

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  • Bri @ My Life As September 19, 2017 at 5:27 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss!

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, Bri. <3

  • Penny Struebig September 19, 2017 at 6:47 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your words had to make them so proud.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

      That’s so sweet of you. Thank you.

  • Trish @ The Trish List September 19, 2017 at 7:46 am

    So sorry for your loss. Such a beautiful eulogy <3

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Thank you, Trish.

  • Beth Kondrick September 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

    What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your grandfather. I have tears in my eyes. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I’m really impressed with the way you were able to celebrate him with such lovely words. My thoughts and prayers to your family!

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Awh, Beth. Thank you. He was a wonderful man. 🙂

  • jenn September 19, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    you say you’re not a gifted writer. so here’s the thing… i’ve spent a significant number of years working as a bookseller, surrounded by stories, and i’d say probably eighty percent of them are crap. do you know why? they’re not written with heart. most of these storytellers have great ideas at the root, but those ideas are not fed well, so they don’t thrive. the words on the pages, they don’t implant themselves in my heart, because they didn’t implant themselves into the writer’s heart. they’re just black letters on white paper, and someone somewhere said they were good enough to be printed en masse and shipped and sold, but their shelf-lives are short, and in a matter of months (you’d be surprised to know that sometimes that shelf-life can be as short as a month) are shipped back. sometimes, their covers are stripped, the story means that little.

    my older brother, who has been in heaven, god willing, for some time now, was one of the best storytellers ever to grace this earth, but he couldn’t write worth a damn. i can write, but my storytelling skills are nowhere near as good as his. they don’t come anywhere close.

    all you need’s one sentence to establish a character well. you write that one sentence, you can build a few others around it, and if you do that with heart, if you breathe life into those words, then you’ve done your job as a writer.

    here’s your one sentence: “Even last Christmas, he knocked my husband, Colton’s hat off his head and said ‘don’t wear a hat at the table, boy’ but he did so with a smile.”

    i knew everything i needed to know about how awesome your pawpaw was in that one sentence. all the rest just confirmed his awesomesauce.

    you did a beautiful job with this. you do fine.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Jenn, seriously, thank you so much for this. I so appreciate your kind words more than you know. Just reading it again made me think of that moment and smile. <3

  • The Rhyming Mum September 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    What a beautifully written tribute. Sorry for your loss.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Thank you so much.

  • And Then We Laughed September 20, 2017 at 6:05 am

    This is such a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was an incredible man who will be missed by many.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

      He really is. Thank you so much.

  • Hannah Vu September 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

    This is so sad. He is a kind man that everybody will miss him and respect him forever. Hope you’ll overcome this huge loss.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Thank you so much, Hannah. <3

  • Anna September 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

    That’s a great tribute. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Thank you, Anna. xx

  • Holly September 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    This is beautiful! He sounds like a wonderful man.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:14 am

      He really is. Thank you so much.

  • Tanya Travels September 20, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I never knew your PawPaw, but I can tell he was quite a force. What a great tribute to a wonderful man. And, wow, 71 years of marriage? That’s incredible.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Thank you, Tanya. He was incredible.

  • Joline September 20, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    This is a beautiful eulogy. Your grandpa sounds like an amazing person. I am extremely close to my grandparents too and when my grandpa passed I was devastated. Sending good vibes your way.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Thank you so much. I understand the devastation for sure.

  • Lois Alter Mark September 20, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    What a beautiful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your PawPaw seems like he was a very special man.

    • Jessica September 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Thank you, Lois. He absolutely was.

  • Eloise September 20, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    He will always be with you in spirit and in memory… this is a great tribute to a great man! I love people who have a good sense of humor
    : ) thank you for sharing his story, sounds like he lived a good life!

  • Sara September 20, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute – both in words and in pictures. He had such an amazing smile. I’m so sorry for your loss, but love that he is reunited with your me’me. Hugs to you all.

  • Jenny T September 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I am teared up and feel your loss. He sounds like a beautiful person and you both were lucky to have such a great relationship. HUGS

  • Thena September 21, 2017 at 6:53 am

    So sweet, and so sad. I am so sorry for your loss, but what a wonderful tribute.

  • Harmony, Momma To Go September 21, 2017 at 7:51 am

    that is so beautiful! 71 years of marriage?!?!?!? WOW! I love most the old pictures. Really captures an era. You are so lucky to have had him.

  • Debbie Savage September 21, 2017 at 8:07 am

    This is so beautiful and brings tears to my eyes. My grandmother is sick in the hospital right now. I love her dearly. This post really hits home. He sounds like an amazing man! He does have a great sense of humor! He is smiling down upon you now. Sending love, peace, and comfort to you right now.

  • Ashley Stephenson September 21, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. I commend you for your strength to give the eulogy, I know that was hard. My mom passed away in 2014 and there is no way I could have been able to do that. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Shannon Morscheck September 21, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Awww, I love that you did this. What a special tribute! He seemed like an amazing man!

  • Shannon September 21, 2017 at 10:24 am

    This post made me cry….I am so very sorry for your loss. My papa is not doing well either so I think this really hit home for me. 71 years of marriage, WOW! And that he worked until he was 85. And damn was he handsome, like really handsome! His sense of humor definitely reminds me of my papa too. My prayers are with you and your family in this time….xoxoxx

  • Roxy September 21, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss! That was such a sweet eulogy, you are so blessed to have had that time with him <3

  • Allison - Celebrating Sweets September 21, 2017 at 11:00 am

    What a handsome man, so sorry for your loss. Beautiful eulogy.

  • Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms September 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Those picture of him later in life are adorable, and the fact that they celebrated 71 years of marriage is amazing! What a beautiful tribute to him.

  • Glenda September 21, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    It’s terrible to hear about your loss and I express my sincere sympathy to you and your family. It looks like your grandfather was an amazing man. I cannot believe he worked for such a long time and was married for so many years.

  • Amanda at The Light Owl September 21, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your Paw Paw. Sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great man. That photo of him in the party had is precious 🙂

  • Brandi Crawford September 21, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I enjoyed looking through all of your photos. I’m sorry for your loss. How wonderful you got to create some amazing memories.

  • Jen Smith September 22, 2017 at 8:18 am

    What a sweet man! I’m so sorry fo your loss but you’ve done a great job of memorializing him. He’d love it.

  • San October 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    So sorry for your loss, he sounds like the sweetest man!