My Papa


On July 4, 2022, as people waved flags at parades while sporting their red, white, and blue, my Papa passed away, peacefully at home with my grandma beside him.

He was a gentle man who lived a simple life, quietly impacting the lives of others with his acts of service and generosity. 

At the funeral service, their pastor shared that my Papa used his knowledge gained from decades of being an accountant to teach other families about money and finances. He helped lead the church's benevolent ministry, and I learned that he often funded the needs himself.

His was not a bold presence. Sometimes you couldn't tell when he was in the room and when he wasn't. He was an observer and a thinker. Always listening for someone to mention a need, a want, or even just a wish. Then he'd sneak away and later present you with that thing you said you wanted. Or, sometimes not even something you needed or wanted at all, but just something he thought you might like.

He loved being outside, loved working in the yard. 
He loved unusual flavors of ice cream. The last time they visited us in Oklahoma just before Thanksgiving we went to get ice cream, and he got egg nog ice cream in a waffle cone.
He loved shopping and finding a good deal.
He loved camping, and he taught me how to roast the best marshmallow.
He loved grilling hot dogs.
He loved my grandma. He loved his family. He loved my kids.
He loved Jesus.

Sometimes I find myself wishing for a more spectacular life. The daily tasks and routines can feel so mundane, the commute can feel so dull. And sometimes (not always, but sometimes) it seems like maybe if I had more money, a bigger platform (really any platform), a hobby I was amazing at, or a job where I was in front of a lot of people, everything would count for more. More what, I don't know. But, just more.

Then I think about Papa's life, which by any of the standards above wasn't more of anything.

But goodness, did he make it splendid.

There was a Google Drive where everyone submitted photos for a slideshow to play before the service. As I looked through the pictures, I was struck by the amount of adventures and experiences and memories my grandma and grandpa had with their family.

Fishing trips, weekends camping, a family reunion in Colorado, summers spent swimming in their backyard, trips to the local ice cream shop, tips to Kohl's to shop for clothes, making homemade ice cream, cookouts, playing cards late into the night at my uncle's lake house.

A beautiful, simple, quiet life.
Not a perfect life. Not a life without grief. Not a life without hardship.
But a faithful life.

A really quite spectacular life.

"Do not let your hears be troubled. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." - John 14:1-3

Anonymous said...

A simple man who impacted many.

Betsy O’Hara said...

Beautifully written with love

AnneMarie said...

What a beautiful life and witness! I will be keeping all of you in my prayers. He sounds like an amazing man!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your Papa. Today is my dad’s birthday. He died 13 years ago and reading this reminds me so much of the amazing short life he lead. There are ways to share our blessings without fireworks and public acknowledgments. YOUR words and heart do it daily.

Amie said...

He loved Jesus, the most important part. Gosh if only one thing, I hope that is what people will say about me. Prayers for your family.

Jenny Evans said...

What a sweet tribute to your grandpa. Thank you for writing this.