“Here she comes, Miss America…” I can still hear my Papa sing it, as he did every time I walked into the room. He treasured us, his grandchildren. He called us every week, asking about our friends, school, books, and anything else children want to talk about.
He passed away during one of the most tumultuous times in my family. My mom was getting remarried, and days before he left to come to the wedding, he had a car accident. He was in ICU for weeks. I remember those days, hoping and praying for a miracle. My mom spent a lot of time in Tulsa, we stayed home with our brand new stepdad. We made the trek to see him one time before he passed away. He was thinner than ever, barely awake, but I will never forget the look in his eyes when his grandkids walked in. He lit up. He smiled, and he was so happy to see us.
My mom called my sister and me into her office (she was a counselor at our high school) and told us that the nurse had called and Papa was going to die soon. She left that day for Tulsa. She called us the next night, during dinner, and told us he had passed away. My sisters crawled into bed with me that night. It was heartbreaking.
I always think about him more during this time of year. Growing up, we always went to Tulsa for Thanksgiving. My papa, his sisters, and their kids would gather at someone’s home. It was my Auntie and Uncle Glen’s farm for a long time, then moved to my mom’s cousin’s farm. It was the best.
And now, I have my own son. My papa would have been overjoyed at Wilson and his cousins, and watching my own parents and in-laws love Wilson has brought back a lot of memories of Papa loving on his family.
In the seventeen years since he passed, Thanksgiving has not been the same. Our family does different things each year, with the exception of the neighborhood 5k. I’m now married and spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws, and each year is different. I keep thinking I’ll get used to it, but I don’t ever seem to settle. I always miss him and wonder what he would be doing if he were alive.
I want Wilson to have traditions, I want him to know that each year the same thing will be happening. I guess I want to honor my Papa by giving Wilson what I had. The same coconut pumpkin pie, the same freedom to explore the woods, the same sense of knowing that each year we will gather together, for that one time, and enjoy family.
I think we honor those we love by remembering them and telling stories of the times we spent together.
I miss my Papa, I wish he could have met my brothers-in-law and all the cousins. I know, however, that each time we love each other and sing silly songs to each other, and laugh together, we are honoring who he was. Maybe that’s our new tradition.
Kacy Davis lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, Collin. She is a special education teacher and advocate of those with special needs and loves her job. She spends her time riding bikes with her husband, running, reading, and enjoying those she loves. Kacy believes in reinventing what it means to be a woman and wife who loves the Lord and longs to help others learn to love the Lord with abandon, freedom, and a greater understanding of grace. She writes here.
There is something so sweet about what is held for children in the midst of tradition. Sending you blessings as you begin to form those places for Wilson and for yourself as a mother.
Thank you for sharing your memories and family. Lovely and full of heart.