Last Thursday afternoon one of my bestest girlfriends, Heather, received a shocking phone call from her mother, Lynn. Her precious grandfather, Ruben D. Whitfield, affectionately known to everyone as Poppi, fell from a ladder while working in their church's fellowship building helping to prepare for their upcoming VBS and was in ICU.
The prognosis was not good.
Family members from near and far scurried as quickly as they could to rally around their beloved Poppi as he was in a coma. There were countless prayers, countless tears, countless memories shared as they held vigil over him.
The Lord welcomed Poppi home late last Saturday evening.
You can say that Poppi lived a long, full, rewarding life. At 86, married to his lovely bride Naomi (Nana) for 67 years, loving father to three beautiful daughters, grandfather of many adults and great-grandfather of an ever growing brood of precious little ones, I'd say he did. You can say that he was a faithful Christian servant, working for many, many years sowing seeds for Christ through his quiet example of living daily for Jesus. He was. You can say he was an example of a truly successful man, not necessarily based on worldly criteria, but based on his influence on his family and those around him. He was. You can say he modeled love and hospitality. He did. You can say with confidence he is with Jesus and no longer suffering aches and pains of an aging body. He is. You can say all of this and so much more about Poppi.
And yet. Still.
I know his family is missing him something fierce.
My heart is tender for them.
I had the honor of meeting Poppi just last month after hearing so many stories from Heather over the years. Tuesday I had the honor of saying goodbye to Poppi at his memorial service in Smithville, TX. He touched so many lives as was evidenced by the overflowing church full of those he impacted through his long, exceedingly kind, humble life. Please keep Nana, their daughters Lynn, Jody and Kathy and all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren in your prayers as they adjust to life without their beloved Poppi.