Today's Gratitude {Papa Edition}

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The month of March was one of sadness, family time, story sharing, tears, and laughs. It was the month we lost our Papa. He passed in early March and it's, as I'd expect, still hard to believe it. 

During that month, I was ever so grateful for all the extra time with family that unfortunate occasion brought. I spent time with great aunts I haven't seen in YEARS, where the last time, I was too young to remember anyway. With cousins and their sweet babies, and sweet family members I hardly even knew before. 

For getting some great hand-me-down stories about Papa from his sister, sons, nieces, football players, students... I love adding these pictures of him and his always-shined shoes, dancing at every football game with his sister, wrestling with his son, and many more to my memory. 

For the sweet, comforting arm squeeze I got from a complete stranger in the hospital, while walking back from an emotional moment.  

For the images I hope to always keep of Mimi's caring, comforting touches. It was truly touching seeing such a strong love for him til the last. 

And of course, for all my personal memories of my handsome, funny, encouraging, loving Papa. I'll cherish 'em forever and am forever grateful to have had this amazing man in my life. 
The first part of this poem was written for his last birthday that I gratefully got to spend with him:

First LD then larry Ross
From coach to principal, a respected boss
As the former high schoolers gather around
"Star player, ladies man, the talk of the town"
This working man didn't know how to quit
He'd retire five times but refused to sit
He's always present with wisdom and wit
So many memories i'll never forget 
Our trips on the motor home with "campfire" talks
Turning strangers into friends on all our walks 
I cherish the times two-stepping with you
And seeing you teach Chris and Liesl before they said I do.  
You always say birthdays are better than the alternative 
One more great year for the man of superlatives.  
MVP, likely to succeed, and class clown
Teachers' pet, best dancer, and best Papa around.

Now months later we're gathered for "the alternative"
We're saying goodbye to this man so admired 
Hearing new stories from all the kinds of relatives
Of all the people he inspired 
So many memories added to my collection
Picturing him with Patsy, stealing the dance floor
Shining his football shoes to perfection 
Images of him and Tim wrestling with a roar 
Learning more about how he'd coach 
"If not loved, at least respected by all"
Sounds like he went with a tougher approach
But If you asked his grandkids they'd tell of a softer side 
His patience, love, and listening ear 
I'm not sure whose was greater, his or my pride 
A way to make you feel special, he held us dear 
I know it'd bring him happiness seeing all these family and friends 
"Revel in family," he'd always recommend 
Now we're picturing you dancing in heaven 
Cheers to LD the man of all men 
We all look forward to see you again.



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