How can I put into words how much you are missed? I find myself drawn back home to be near you once again, if only in memories. I visited you today in many places. I left a little something from my heart on your grave site. I talked with you as we sat in the swing at the farm. I held your picture close as I sat in the study that was your sanctuary for early morning talks with God and where you prepared so many sermons to share. I felt your loving embrace as I snuggled deep into the recliner where you spent time napping, reading your newspaper, watching the Astros, or simply catching up on the evening news.
Momma feels the void even more deeply as fall approaches. She holds so many precious memories of you during this time of year. You would be so proud of her. She has displayed such strength and grace throughout the transition since your departure to heaven. I see in purest form how whenever God joins a man and a woman together they are no longer two, but one flesh. I see much of your strength and wisdom in Mom. I also see the pain of losing someone who is so much a part of you. She misses you so.
I hope you will forgive us, but we are turning your hay barn into the gathering place we always dreamed of out at the old home place. Somehow I think you would be proud of this place and what it represents. Working on this project has proven to be especially healing for us all. It has strengthened family bonds. It is the culmination hope for us. It is here that we gather to remember the past, enjoy the present and create memories for the future. It is on this dirt that our family heritage in Texas began. It is here that time slows and gives us pause to pass on the stories of this precious home place. It is here where our great, great grandparents lived and walked. It is here where your very life on this earth began. It is here that loved ones come to life in the memories of us kids, and in the imaginations of our children and grandchildren. It is here they will continue to know you. And it is here your presence is so strongly felt and remembered.
Your memory does live on, even in the youngest of the babies. Hollie and Kase point to your pictures and say, “Paw Paw.” Tyce and Drue still draw pictures for you sitting at your desk in your study. The most poignant moment took place yesterday as we were leaving to come back to La Porte. Little Randy ran to give Maw Maw Hood a hug goodbye. He then turned to ask if he could give Paw Paw Hood a hug. I explained that you were in heaven, but he could give your picture a hug and kiss. He gently picked up your picture from the desk and handed it to me. Standing in front of the picture frame, he lovingly took his little hands and traced your outline. He then gently pretended to remove your silhouette from the picture and held you next to his heart, squeezing you tight. Once done, he placed you back in the picture, and then tenderly placed a kiss on your cheek. You made such a lasting, loving impression on all generations of our family.
Somehow I feel like you know all these things, but I felt the need to tell you…just like I need to say one more time that you are loved.
From my heart to you in heaven,