|Michelle, Papa, and Me in my parents' backyard on Easter.|
Wow. Saying I cannot believe it's been ten years since you died is an understatement. I REALLY can't believe it's been ten years. Sure, you were sick right before you died, but it was still a shock. I don't think I actually thought you'd die in the hospital bed at Baptist.
I remember the day, vividly. I was wearing a yellow spaghetti strapped shirt that was "illegal" to wear at Hall, and so I had a red Razorback sweatshirt over it, and jeans. I was waiting for Mama to pick me up from school, but I knew she was late. When I realized how late she was, I knew something was wrong.
After Daddy picked me up, we went straight to the hospital. I headed right back to see you, but Aunt Debbie and her brother-in-law, Dave, stopped me. I remember hearing Daddy start crying, and I just knew. I fell into Dave, and he held me for a minute before we went to your room.
I'll admit, it took me a while to "get over" your death. I remember telling God that night that I wouldn't accept it, and for the longest time, I didn't. I knew you were fully healed -- your lungs now worked, you were with your wife, and your brothers and sisters and parents. But, I wanted you here, with us.
However, in the years that have followed, I have found immense comfort that you're my guardian angel. For all the good times we had on Earth, I can't even imagine the party you're having in Heaven. I know your golf game probably improved -- and I am sure we're all happy about that. ;-) When Aunt Debbie died, I remember wanting you on Earth more than I had in a while. I'm sure you were happy about seeing her again, but I knew your bear hugs would have been welcomed during those days. (Plus, having you at my wedding the next day would have been fun!)
Since you've died, I have realized you're a part of my future more than my past. Life has moved on. Your daughter is now a wonderful, wonderful Nana. I'm now married, with two children. (And, yes, Dillon might be the family name... but he IS named after you.) Michelle is a beautiful woman, inside and out, in pharmacy school. I take comfort in that you can watch all this from above, and relish in the good times with us.
While I don't want it to be too soon, I am looking forward to our eternal future, Papa. Thanks for the lessons in football, faith, and family. I tell your great grandsons about you almost daily. You'd love them, just as you loved Michelle and me. Keep watching over us.
I love you,