Thursday, August 6, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA from my blog and from social media for the last week.  I wish that I could say it was because I was travelling the world or inventing a cure for cancer, but unfortunately, it was for the death of my grandfather. 

He was 91 years old, and he had been having some health issues for the last couple of years, so it wasn’t totally unexpected.  I was fortunate enough to see him at the hospital one last time Wednesday night before he passed away early Thursday morning.  His body had already started the process of shutting down, so he was asleep the entire time that I was there, but I am so grateful that I got to spend a few hours with him anyway.  

We spent this past weekend preparing for the funeral, mourning our loss, thanking God for the abundance of blessings in our lives, and most importantly, celebrating his life. 

Friday I spent the whole day with my Momma, shopping for funeral attire, picking out suits for my brothers, and tying up loose ends for the funeral arrangements.  We have many family members tucked away in different corners of the United States, and they all made their way here for the weekend – the silver lining to these circumstances.  

Our family is peppered with artists, writers, and musicians, so on Saturday evening we all came together after church and celebrated in the best way that we know how – with guitars, mandolins, and a whole lot of singing.  Jacob and Olivia joined in and danced the night away.  Jacob was a true southern gentleman, holding Olivia’s hands and guiding her around the floor.  

The rest of the days and nights went by in a blur and they are now all running together in my head.  We spent a lot of time at my Mama Cass’s house catching up with family we haven’t seen in months, looking at old pictures, talking about fond memories of Big Daddy, and eating all of the food that so many kind people had prepared for us.  I am still astonished at the huge outpouring of love from our community… my grandmother received so many beautiful flowers and plants, and more food than Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. 

All of the granddaughters

All of the grandsons

Sunday evening was the rosary and visitation, and Monday was the funeral and the burial.  Everyone wore red and black to coordinate with the red University of Georgia tie in which Big Daddy was to be buried.  We knew it would make him proud.  He had a military burial, Taps was played, and a flag was presented to my grandmother.  There was not one dry eye in the whole vicinity.  After the burial, everyone gathered at my Mama Cass’s house one more time to eat and to just be with each other before it was time to go back to our everyday lives.  We all had a great time sharing memories of my Big Daddy and laughing at his past antics.  He was always larger than life to me.

Head cheerleader at University of Georgia, 1947

University of Georgia Homecoming in the late 1980's

How do you adequately describe someone who was larger than life?  I’ve been thinking for days now about what to write, but words seem so insufficient.  You really just had to know him.  

He was charismatic. 
He was unique. 
He was handsome.
He was charming.
He was incredibly talented.
He had the perfect radio voice and the most infectious laugh to go along with it.
He was deliciously witty and sarcastic (my personal favorite brand of humor).
He was inappropriate.
He was stubborn.
He was set in his ways.
He was always, always grammatically correct.
He was a loyal family man.
He took command of every single room in which he set foot. 

He truly was larger than life, and he was so special to me. 

With a little baby me, 1983

At my high school graduation, 2000 - one of the rare times you will see my original hair color ;o)

At our wedding, 2007

At a charity ball, 2011

I can remember sitting with him in his big chair when I was a little girl and feeling like I was in the presence of a king.  A University of Georgia head cheerleader and graduate, he taught me to cheer for the best team on earth, and he is the reason why I am a die-hard and loyal fan to this day.  He gave me my very first taste of beer (Budweiser) when I was just a kid, probably during a Georgia game.  ;o)

He fought for his country in World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge, and he was married to my grandmother for 67 years.  He was a devout Catholic, and he sat in the exact same seat at every Saturday evening mass for as long as I can remember.

Honor Flight to Washington DC

With my grandmother and their six kids - recognize my mom on the left?  I'm told we look just alike.

He was a radio personality for 35 years, received numerous awards for his broadcast productions, and he was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame back in 2008.  There wasn’t – and will never be – anyone like him on the air waves.  He is a legend and he was loved by so many.  All week long the local media has been paying tribute to him via newspaper articles, news segments, and radio segments. 

He was quite a character, that’s for sure, and I am so blessed to have had thirty-three amazing years with him.  Even more so, I am glad that my children had a chance to meet him.

With Jacob, 2012

With Jacob at my brother's wedding, 2013

With Olivia during football season last fall, 2014

With Jacob and Olivia this past Easter, 2015

Rest in peace, Big.  We promise to always keep your seat warm at church, to cheer our hearts out for the Dawgs every season, and to never end a sentence with a preposition.  Until we meet again...

This was how we were greeted when leaving his rosary and visitation Sunday evening.


  1. these are some beautiful pictures! It looks like y'all had a great ceremony for him and he was a handsome man.

  2. So sorry to hear about your loss! What beautiful photos and I love how you guys all came together, sang and played music - what special family time.

    1. Thanks, Christina. Even though it was a rough time, we got a lot of great family time from it and I will always be thankful for that.

  3. I'm so proud of you, babe. As if I need any more reason to cry!!!

  4. Lindsay, this is such a beautiful post, it brought tears to my eyes! Your Grandfather sure seems like an amazing man and his legacy will live on forever

    1. Thank you, Lizzie. He really was amazing! I miss him so much, but I'm so thankful that I got as much time with him as I did.

  5. Wow! What a wonderful man! You're so lucky to have had such an energetic and loving Grandfather! The pictures show a man with a full life and a kind heart. Lots of virtual hugs to you and your family.

  6. what a loving and perfectly touching post,., You really let us feel your love for this man, and why too... a lovely portrait of a very special grandpa.. it will take a long time to feel less hurt after his loss, but you will be happy with all those wonderful memories.. we are so blessed to have known our grandparents, and with his faith, he is where he wants to be.. hugs from over the pond.. J


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