So, it's become tradition now for me to dedicate a post to my daddy on this, the anniversary of his home-going.
4 years. It still sometimes doesn't seem real to me, like it is some horrible nightmare from which I will eventually awaken. But, it's not. He accomplished what he needed to in this life and God called him home very early in the morning, February 10, 2007.
Daddy didn't have an easy life. He drank lye water when he was 3, which should have killed him, but it didn't. What it did do is cause him to spend the better part of the next 10 years in Arkansas Children's Hospital. No one ever thought he would survive, and if he did he wouldn't amount to much. He surprised everyone when he graduated from high school, shocked people when he went on to college, amazed people when he went on to become a Pharmaceutical doctor.
During college he developed a bleeding ulcer. They thought that would take him. The early 90's brought on a rare case of pneumonia that put him in ICU for a month. They even pronounced him clinically dead at one point. God had more plans for him.
Daddy lived his life to serve. If there was a need he saw, he would do his best to meet it. He never let his family, immediate or extended, go for want. His family was the most important thing to him; Not just my mom and brother and sister and me, but his parents, his brothers and sister and their children.
He was the proudest grandaddy you could ever meet. I remember when my first niece, Brittnee, was born... He could not have been more proud. He grew a beard then, because a grandaddy should have a beard. My mom hated that beard, but he didn't care. It was for Brit. He would drive from Rogers to Little Rock to kidnap her every chance he got. He let her get away with everything!
He loved each of his grand kids just as much. Alyssa, Haleigh, Kennon, Melanie, Jared, JD and Cora. He loved you all more than you could ever know. He was proud of each of you. He treasured the moments you would spend with him. He loved to do things with you that would defy your parents (throwing Alyssa and Haleigh into the pool with your pjs on after your parents told you you couldn't go swimming), rocking you to sleep when you were babies (or rocking himself to sleep while you stayed wide awake in his arms...I have several pictures of that!) Watching him with JD and Cora was a delight of mine. JD thought Grandaddy hung the moon. I think all of the grand kids did.
He really was a man of few words. Up until the last year of his life, he always had a hard time expressing his love verbally, but he loved to give gifts! Valentine's Day was a favorite for him. He would buy amazing jewelry for my mom and sister and me, and if he was going to purchase something, it was going to be the best. I remember every year my sister and I calling each other on Valentine's Day to compare our jewelry. "Did you get the amazing earrings!??!!? Aren't the sapphires gorgeous!??!?!" etc. etc. etc.
I still dream about him almost every night. I still occasionally try to pick up the phone and call him to tell him about something or ask him a medical-related question. I don't know if that will ever go away. I still cry sometimes, just break out into tears at random moments. I still hope he would be proud of me.
Cora asked me a few months back if her grandaddy thought about her. That was a hard question for me. No one knows for sure what Heaven will be like. I, however, very much believe our loved ones there aren't "looking down on us" they aren't "our guardian angels" (I'll address that in a moment). It's hard to think about with our human minds, but those who are in Heaven are focused on Jesus, not on earth. But, how do you say that to a little girl without hurting her? God gave me the answer.
"Cora, what I do know is that the Bible says when a person accepts Jesus as his or her personal Savior, all of Heaven rejoices. That means I know for sure that Grandaddy was rejoicing when you and JD accepted Jesus and he looks forward to the day when we will join him there."
Now, I do want to briefly address the whole "guardian angel" thing. Do I believe in guardian angels? Well, yes and no. I do believe God sends angels to protect us, I haven't found anywhere in the Bible where it says we each have a specific angel that is "ours". Maybe it's there, but I haven't seen it. However, those who have gone on before us do not become angels. Angels are a completely separate creation from humans. You do not want to be an angel!
As humans, we have the choice to accept Jesus as our personal Savior. We were given that second chance. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but God sent His Son to die for US...for you, for me! He didn't do that for angels. When Lucifer, the director of all angels, chose to rebel against God, he was immediately kicked out of Heaven, along with all the angels who chose his side. They weren't given a second chance. Jesus didn't leave Heaven to die for them.
The Bible says we were made in the image of God, it does not say that about angels. My daddy isn't an angel. He is a child of God who gets to spend eternity worshiping his Savior!