The evolution of social media has changed the world for all of us. In some ways, it is better and in some ways it is worse. I have traveled a lot in the last 7 years and the aspect of social media that I have appreciated the most is keeping up with what really matters in life, such as family. Although people are often focused on how awesome I am, they forget that I come from a very humble background. I was raised to respect others, love family, and be grateful for everything. I can promise you, those values still hold true with me today. As I have watched so many of you go through the challenge of losing people you love, my heart goes out to you. The pain of losing someone is only helped by the hope and faith of being able to see them again one day.
The lives of everyone around me changed on September 13th, 2000. We were certainly sad, exhausted and relieved at the same time. When I think about my father’s last day on Earth, I often think about 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” He had rough days when he did not feel good, he had regrets that he was not going to be around in the years to come, and I’m sure he worried about not being here for his family. But one of the greatest attributes I will remember about Deddy is that he simply accepted his fate and made every effort to maintain a positive attitude until the very end. He was not mad at God, he did not feel like he had been dealt a worse hand than anyone else, and he did not feel sorry for himself.
I believe that because of how Deddy handled his demise, we only remember the good things about him and the times we spent together. Sure, he had a lot of challenges during his last year, but he was also blessed to actually be walking around until the day before he passed away. We reminisce about playing baseball during the summers, watching ballgames together, hanging out with his brothers on the weekend around the house, his voice of reason and calmness during the storms of life, his devotion to his mother and father, his love for Mama, and his one-liners when he was only being honest and not trying to be funny.
Uncle Boyd said they were talking one day and he made the comment that he regretted he never would get to see his grandchildren. Uncle Boyd asked him if it might be more difficult if his grandchildren were already here. Deddy thought about it for a minute and told Uncle Boyd that he had a point. Travis and his family live in the house that we grew up in. There have been several strange things to happen while they have lived there. A while back, Brooklyn (his 2 year old little girl) hit Colt and although it did not really hurt him, Travis scolded her. She was put in “Timeout.” Travis said she was crying like he was beating her with a stick. In a few minutes, the house phone rang and the number calling was 499-9750. Travis answered the phone and nobody was on the other end. Then he called the number back only to get a recording that the number had been disconnected. The significance of that story is that 499-9750 was Deddy’s business number for probably 30 years. I told Travis that he may want to think before making Brooklyn cry again. There have also been several times when Brooklyn seems to be smiling and waving at someone when there is nobody there. I can’t help but think that maybe Deddy is watching his grandchildren after all.
I have often wondered if and what people that have passed away can see. I like to think that they can see the good things but are shielded from the terrible things in this world. I hope that Deddy can see his grandchildren. I hope that he can see us coaching Colt’s teams as he grows up. I hope he knows that I have tried to follow in his footsteps although I realize that I will never be as good of a man as he was. I also hope the next time Travis gives a “Timeout” that Deddy appears and says….”Travis, what do you think you are doing!?” I hope that he can see us golfing with Uncle Boyd on Sundays. I hope that he can see Travis and me taking Mama shopping at Christmas but I hope he cannot hear my yearly meltdown that they always provoke me to have. I just hope that he can see the good times. Because as the years continue to go by, he is missed more than he will ever know. One of the most important lessons I ever learned from my Father was taught by example. In this life, nothing you do or achieve really matters unless you have honor. And that is the creed that I live by.