We will miss Pa...

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. Self-control.  If there was ever anyone who lived out the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23), it would be Ryan's grandfather, Pa.  Pa was one of the most loving, gentle, kind, peaceful people I have ever been around and thankfully, he instilled these qualities into his son Dexter (Ryan's father) who also passed these characteristics along to Ryan.  As far as men go, these three generations of Woods are some of the most patient, kind men I have ever known.  And as far as leaving a legacy goes, Pa left his through instilling these qualities into my husband and my father-in-law.

While I am so thankful for the legacy that Pa left behind and for the character traits of Pa's that are so evident in my own husband and in my father-in-law, I am so sad that we lost such an amazing man when Pa went  home to be with the Lord last Wednesday morning. 

When Ryan recieved a phone call from his dad when we were getting ready for work telling him that Pa had passed away during the night, Ryan and I both sat on the bed and mourned the loss of his grandfather together.  My heart broke for my husband who just lost his grandfather, for Ma, his grandmother who just lost her spouse of over sixty years, for my father-in-law who lost his father, for Ryan's aunt Lisa who lost her father and for all of the Wood family, but it also broke because I lost someone who was special to me.  In the nine years that I have known Ryan, I have grown to love his grandparents.  They have always been so good to me and make me feel like one of their own grandchildren.  They have so many first-hand stories of times they have lived through that I have only read about in history books.  Every time I am around them, I wish I had an extended amount of time to spend with them because they have such valuable things I would just love to learn from them.  They garden and can and cook and appreciate time spent with family without the distractions of cell phones, tv, video games.  It's like a breath of fresh air to spend time with them and learn from these sweet people who have taught Ryan so many of life's lessons throughout his childhood. 

The thing that makes me the most sad is that my (future) kids will not be able to grow up around Pa, learning life lessons from him that Ryan and Dexter were able to.  That is why I am so thankful for the strong legacy he left behind in Ryan and Dexter so that my kids will know Pa through their own father and grandfather who are so much like him in so many ways. 

I'm thankful for the time we recently were able to spend with Pa and Ma in Alabama when we stopped in for visits on our way to and from the beach just a month and a half ago. 

And here's a picture from a little over two years ago on our way home from the beach right before our wedding.

While I did not make it down to Alabama for the funeral, I'm so glad that Ryan was able to be there with his family to celebrate Pa's life.  TJ and I had made plans a while back for him to fly to Durham to surprise Matt on his birthday for the Toby Keith concert and to spend the weekend.  Jamie was also able to be here for the weekend so while I absolutely hated to not be in Alabama with Ryan and his family, I stayed behind to be with my siblings since this was TJ's first trip to Durham in the last two and a half years. 


Rachel said...

well, you made me cry. what a sweet tribute!

Maggie Kutschbach said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Ryan in this difficult time. Pa seemed like a wonderful man. Always remember he is with you, and know he will also be with your future children!

Melissa said...

that was very sweet erin! did not realize Pa had passed on to be with Jesus, thinking of you both & praying for your family