"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You will be missed...

When I wrote this, I never imagined it would be printed and distributed to visitors in a funeral parlor – to family and friends who lovingly paid their last respects to a man who had a profound influence on their lives. I never imagined the sheer number of people who would read it and tell me how accurately it described their father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, friend...

Instead, I hoped that the man for whom it was written would make a miraculous recovery and read it when he returned home from the hospital. Unfortunately it did not work that way.

Mack Harvie Reed - a strong, generous, loving man - passed away April 30 in his ICU hospital bed in Mobile, Alabama.

After much heartbreaking deliberation, the family decided to take him off the ventilator Thursday morning. The doctors had taken away our last glimmer of hope, saying he would more than likely never wake up from his coma. And if he did, the chances of severe brain damage were very high. He’d never be the man we remembered. His quality of life would never be the same.

At 5:30 Thursday evening, after seven hours without breathing assistance, Grandpa was gone. As I tearfully watched him draw his last breath, I tried to find peace in knowing that he was no longer in pain. Still, the sadness was almost overwhelming.

The next few days were filled with family stories – a mixture of tears and laughter as we remembered the life of a wonderful man.

Grandpa had a beautiful military funeral yesterday morning, complete with a twenty-one gun salute. Local Marines presented Grandma with the American flag. As I stood there in the rain, listening to the final notes of Taps, I couldn’t help but wish he was there – if only to see the number of people who showed up to say goodbye.

Although we’ll no longer get to see his face or hear his deep, baritone voice, I know his spirit will live on in the values he instilled and the memories he helped create.

Grandpa – we know you’re in a better place, but we sure will miss you.


Sally's World said...

I'm so glad more people got to read it, the first time i read it i was moved to tears also...it is a great tribute to be able to share this, i know it would have given those who love him comfort!

Dan Felstead said...

Thank you for letting us know. Our prayers will be with you and your family in this time of grief. I know you will miss him but his memory and the great things he did for you and taught you will be with you for the rest of your life. His legacy will be passed on to your future husband and children as well (if that is in your future). Cliche as it sounds...he is gone but he will never be forgotten. Hang in there.


septembermom said...

Heather, I'm so sorry for you and your family. Your words are truly a beautiful tribute to your grandpa. I know he smiles on you always.

Lacey said...

Oh honey, I am so sorry for your loss. This post really did bring tears to my eyes. Your grandpa was a good man, and you're right, he will live on in your values and memories.

scarlethue said...

I know that overwhelming sadness. It's amazing isn't it? To feel something that deep you know you must have felt the reverse for him at some point-- overwhelming happiness in his presence. And your life is better for it, as you said. I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm glad that you have such a good perspective on it and that you have your family with you.

H.K. said...

Your tribute to your grandfather, the amount of love that was poured in during your grandpa's stay in the hospital and at his funeral is a testament that he was loved and was a special person to everyone.

I'm glad that I got a peek into the life of a very special man.

Lotty said...

Sorry for your loss. Just been through similar. You just got to keep smiling and remember all the good times.

Keep your head high. All my thoughts are with you.

CDB said...

I'm so sorry. I'd be lying if I said you didn't bring tears to my eyes as I read. And it's not because I'm pretty emotional these days.

Beautiful testament, beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry he's gone, but am happy he's in a better place, no longer in pain.

Dan said...

My condolences for your Grandfather. Your remembrance was moving and heartfelt.

Grandfathers occupy a special place in our hearts - I still miss mine close to 20 years later.

Grieve and celebrate his life - he will live on through your memories.

Diane said...

Oh sweetness... I was so afraid this was going to be your next post. I'm so sorry. I know how much you will miss him but I'm so happy you had him for so long. You're in my thoughts, as is he. Take care and if you need a shoulder, you know where to find me... XOXO

Missy said...

I am so sorry for your loss! I will be praying for you and your family!

Kim said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I am very grateful that this wonderful man who meant so much to you is no longer in pain. I hope for you that while you are grieving that you also find some peace and joy in remembering him. I'm more than certain that he found you a pure gift in his life! Hugs and hugs and hugs to you my friend!!

Anonymous said...

Heather, I was so glad that you wrote that poem about Grandpa.. Years from now people can look back at it. You can tell your children all about him. We have so many stores and memories to tell. You made me cry when I just read this last farwell note. He was so proud of all of us. I know that you made him proud by writing that poem.
Love ya,

Kitten said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know your words comforted all of those who attended his services.

Trudy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a wonderful grandpa for lots of years. I pray that your memories will always remain with you and keep him alive in your heart!

hebba said...

Oh, Heather, I am so sorry. My heart just broke for you reading this post. He sounds like an amazing man; thank you for sharing a little of him with us.

RileyScott said...

I'm sorry for your loss, I lost my Grandfather is a similar way.

I hope you find solace in something during this hard time.

Jenners said...

Oh Sweetie. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure this has been very difficult for all of you. He sounds like a very special man who will be missed by many. My condolences to you and your family on your loss. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all of you for the prayers, love and warmth that you have given to Heather and my family during the illness and loss of my Dad. Heather's description of him was so true. He was the strongest man I ever knew, both physically and emotionally. Always there to help anyone that needed a hand...anyone.
My heart breaks, but I truely believe that he's in Heaven now. My Dad wasn't big on organized religon, but he'd tell you right quick that God and Christ came first with him. He lived his life by the ten commandments and the golden rule.


Anonymous said...

Well, Heather if your ready to write, I'll tell you all the quotes Grandpa use to say. They are still pretty fresh on my mind. It was really hard for me to see him go through what he did and momma too. It hurt so bad. I've only been gone six years and you the first two years I ate lunch there everyday. Every time I start to cry I can hear him say "Don't cry for me I've lived my live". But I still can't help it I was a Daddy's girl and the baby and I'll be his baby until I'm 101, that's what he use to always tell me when I was little. Keep up the good writing.

Love ya,

Aunt E