Why is it that my greatest writing occurs in the moments of my greatest reflection? Whether it be the death of a grandparent or the surgeries of my daughter, these moments usually result in a time where everything gets quiet and my thoughts tend to turn inward as I reflect on the circumstances around me and how they impact my life and the lives of those around me.
Just a few moments ago I received a phone call that I wasn’t shocked to receive (although it came a little sooner than I expected). It has barely been a month since we said goodbye to my grandmother and now my grandfather has hours, perhaps days, left with us on this earth. He will soon be leaving us and be reunited with his wife of 61 years. While part of me celebrates with him in the joy he will soon be experiencing with his new life in heaven at the feet of our Lord and Savior with his beloved wife by his side; the other part of me grieves for the loss I will experience.
After I returned home to Jacksonville following my grandmother’s funeral, I felt a little lost and that part of me was missing. As the month has passed that hole has turned into a peace knowing where she is, once again in perfect health again; yet still missing the woman who has always had a large roll in my life. Now I know that I am facing this once again, painfully too soon.
My beloved grandfather will shortly depart from the earthly place to enter into heavenly perfection.
James Fred Tucker is the first son, fourth child of eight, born to Fred Hardy and Rosa Lee Wilkins Tucker in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas on 3 Jan 1921. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War 2 after which he moved to Wood River IL to meet his pen pal a Ms. Glenda Marie Worthy. Their wartime correspondence quickly turned into courtship and then marriage. From their union resulted in the birth of two sons, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Their love and sense of family is now being passed onto a fourth generation.
Grandpa is probably the quietest man I have known in my life. Yet in his actions you know he is a man of great feeling. He loves his wife, his two sons, and all of his grandchildren. When he met his great-granddaughter I think that heart of his grew another size as his love grew once again for that new little baby he held in his arms. When we were up in Wood River in May, my precocious 18 month old slowly worked her way out of the living room and into the kitchen where grandpa was eating, my dad was in the kitchen too so I didn’t bother following. Dad called me into the room a few minutes later. I walked in to discover that he just couldn’t resist picking up that little girl of his, despite his weakened condition. Natalie was as happy as could be to be on her Poppie’s lap. I wish I could have caught that moment on camera, but the visualization will stay with me forever.
Seeing my grandfather with my daughter shows me how he must have been with the rest of us when we were small and how he must have been with his sons. He shows his love through his actions rather than words, this is what I will remember most.
In times such as this people always ask, what is your favorite memory? what is the most valuable thing that he taught you? For me the answer is as simple the game he taught me. My grandpa taught me to play checkers and I remember that just like it was yesterday.
I feel as if my thoughts are random and jumbled. I wonder if I even make much sense at this moment, but I want my point to be this…James Fred Tucker is a man of actions more than words. He is a quiet man who loves deeply. He is a gentle man and a Godly man. The world will be a little less rich and full when he is gone.
I love you Poppie!