This day last year at about 11:30 pm (CST), I received a called from my brother informing me that my Granddaddy had died. He had recovered nicely from a major trauma and had been in rehab building strength for a few days. Unfortunately, the stress was probably too great and he passed away in his sleep that night. It was truly the worst night (and next several days) of my life.
Our Granddaddy was our family legacy. He modelled faith in God, dedication to and love for family, good character, humility, hard work, honesty, and respect for all people regardless of their backgrounds. He enjoyed his family, UGA and CCHS football, playing golf, working hard, and fishing. He was a wonderful listener and great confidant. He didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear, but he had a very gentle way of telling me what I needed to hear. And... I'm proud to say that I listened and took every ounce of his advice to heart! On the weekend before he died, I was off and decided to drive to Moultrie to visit him. He was still in the hospital, though he was beginning to walk. His mind was perfect. He and I had several hours together that Sunday morning before I left. We talked about my practice/business, Adam, and our plans to start our family. He knew we were having fertility issues and he told me that he supported us 100% in whichever route we needed to take (though he shared our feeling towards adoption). Basically, he encouraged us to spend wisely...but to spend if that's what it took to build our family. He knew we were doing IVF. It certainly wasn't something he understood the fine details of, but he certainly understood its purpose and our needs. I would love to have had him to share the events of last year with...and I'd certainly welcome his advice and insight as to what we now face. Frankly, I miss my Sunday phone calls and visits to his and Grandmother's house...regardless of whether advice was needed or not!
I see my Grandaddy's photo as I walk into my medical office each day. I also see the photo of he and my Grandmother that sits between my office and Dad's office each day. I'm so thankful that we still have Grandmother, and sad that he's not here anymore. I think about Grandaddy on Friday nights during the fall, UGA football Saturdays (oh...the fond college memories...one of which involved a young punk and a gun), Sundays at Dairy Queen or Pizza Hut, every time I see a Captain D's (the location of my preschool "dates" with him), and our Saturday fishing trips (also used to weed-out useless boyfriends)! Frankly, it's rare (if ever) that a day goes by that I don't think about Grandaddy in some way.
I think when a 34 year old professional married woman remembers her Granddaddy almost every day and misses him this much an entire year later...he must have been someone really special! I know that Dad, Mom, Leslee, Trey, Grandmother, and my extended family feel the same love and sense of loss. He really raised a spectacular family that continues to succeed in our lives and careers. I just hope he gets to "see" us from above and continue to be proud of the lives we live...thanks to him!
L.R. Dampier Sr., we miss you tons! Your 89 years will live for generations to come, and that's something very few families can be proud of! Thinking of you a little bit more today and loving you always, Cinda.