Friday, March 11, 2011

What I wrote for my grandpa's funeral

When trying to think of something to say that would capture my feelings and what it was like to have Carl Pittman as a grandfather, so many thoughts swirled in my mind that I was quite overwhelmed. I was advised to pick a single memory, something that would bring joy to others, and to quote, keep it short.

The trouble is that there are too many memories to choose from, too many moments that brought me joy, and that in the retelling would share some of that joy with all of you. Moments full of laughter like the game of “stealing Papaw's chair”, moments of wisdom passed down like being told to “always get the name of everyone you do business with”, or moments of learning shared like teaching me how to whistle the “red bird's song”. I struggled over the last couple of days with which one to choose.

I finally settled upon the sunflowers. Which isn't surprising really since they will always be the flowers I associate with my Grandpa.

You see when I was little, I would sneak out to the bird feeder near the garden and take some of the sunflower seeds, then plant them in the corner of the garden by the fence. Every year a few would sprout and grow. I'd laugh, thrilled to see them tall and bright in the sunshine, and Grandpa would pretend to be surprised at them being there at all and in a mock scolding “tsk tsk” at me wondering what “little birdie” planted those flowers in his garden. Even when I went away to college and then later moved out of state, every year a sunflower would still grow. I'm not sure to this day if the birds did the planting or if Grandpa did it just to be able to tease me about them despite swearing he never planted them there to take up precious space for his peppers!

Sunflowers for the funeral from Marc, the kids, and I

In then end it doesn't matter. In the end when it comes right down to it, the sunflowers brought us both joy and helped us feel together over the miles that separated us. Just like each of the many memories and stories that are shared today, will bring each of us a bit of joy on a day of sadness and remind us that in our grief we are not alone.

Having Carl Pittman as a grandpa blessed my life. I have been blessed by his humor, wisdom, patience, and knowledge, and blessed by the presence of man who never failed to show his love for me. I love him deeply and will miss him always. 

1 comment:

  1. Love the story about the sunflowers - it is wonderful that you were so close to your grandpa and had so many joyous memories to choose from. I often wish I would have had the opportunity to grow up near either of my grandparents - but we've always lived in a different state than my mom's parents, and my dad's parents moved out of state when I was little. I'm hoping everyone stays put so my daughter can grow up near my parents and create many memories to enjoy long after they are gone. I am sorry for your loss.