I don't suppose you can, but I will certainly attempt to humbly string together what I'm feeling tonight -the night my Papaw went to be with the Lord.
Although there is a gaping hole in my heart, I find it surprisingly difficult to grieve for a man who is standing in the presence of Jesus. He is walking the streets of gold and staring at the crystal sea. His mind was made whole as he entered the Pearly Gates of eternity where Alzheimer's disease has no power, where every tear has been wiped from his eyes, and where he stands face to face with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I imagine that he stood there telling our Heavenly Father these words from 2 Timothy, " I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith."
To which our Creator replied from the book of Matthew, "Well done my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come, and share your Master's happiness."
You see, my papaw wasn't a "go to church on Sunday and come home for the rest of the week" kinda man. He didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He was fierce and passionate about this relationship with the Lord. It governed every aspect of his life from business practices, to his dealings with others, to raising his family.
He gave of his time to others as a Sunday School teacher of 50 years. His generosity was unparalleled to anyone I have ever known, and the unapologetic boldness as he asked strangers, "Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior" will always challenge me to share my own faith without hesitation.
I find it hard to grieve for a man who fills my thoughts with precious memories. My Papaw is the one who told me that Santa Clause wasn't real...I was five. He said, "Well, I'm not going to lie to you." Ha!
My Papaw used to stop by to see us every single afternoon, and he would pretend not to notice us sneaking into the bed of his truck. In fact, he would drive to the end of the avenue and act shocked to "find" us huddled in the back.
My Papaw took us out to eat before church every Wednesday night, and made sure we always had our memory verses learned before Awana.
My Papaw took us on so many amazing trips, but my fondest memories are of the year we vacationed in Melbourne Beach. He decided that we would not be able to inflate our whale float once we were at the hotel, so he made us blow it up and strap it in the truck bed with bungie cords. When we were driving through Atlanta, someone yelled out the window, "Are you going to Free Willie?"
My Papaw had incredible stories of humor, grieve, and widsom as he talked of his childhood growing up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.
I find it hard hard to grieve for a man who leaves a legacy of love, joy and faith. I pray that I will be a blessing to others just as he has been to me. I pray that when I fly I away, my own children and grandchildren will be at a loss for words to describe my character, just as I am at a loss to describe his. I pray that what they say of me is the greatest thing I can say about Don White and that is this: HE WAS A MAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART.
Perhaps those are the words that have eluded me until now.
In closing I will quote from a song in which I have found great comfort.
"And with your final heartbeat,
kiss the world goodbye;
go in peace and laugh on glory's side.
Fly to Jesus.
Fly to Jesus.
Fly to Jesus;