The Long Goodbye

She bundles him up

Gonna be a cold one today

“Put on your shoes, Papa”

“Here are your gloves”

He looks at the shoes and then at the gloves with an empty gaze

This once virile man, her knight in shining armor

Now doesn’t know what to do with these items

He wants to please

But he has no clue

He vacantly stares

While she patiently begins the dressing of the man who once dressed her

The days are long

But the years past were short

She remembers so distinctly the countless times he patiently stood behind her

While she yelled, “Higher, Papa! Higher! Push me up to the sky!”

Or the many times he tickled her until she could barely catch her breath

She remembers vividly asking him to show her how to tie her sparkly pink shoes

And he did

Time and time again

She recalls, with ease, the day she brought home her beau

“Papa, he asked me to marry him!”

“Take good care of her, son.” he said

And now, he can’t remember either of them

But she remembers

The days play over and over in her mind

An endless loop with no beginning and no end

She takes great joy in the little things

This morning he remembered that bacon and eggs were his favorites

And last night

When she tucked him into bed he said

“I love you to the stars, Sparkles”

Their roles were reversed

But he knew her, if only for just a brief moment

Goodbyes are hard

But long goodbyes…

Much harder

Because you never know when there will be

No more glimmers of recognition and no more knowing

Only memories

The Last Goodbye

The Long Goodbye

(If you are a caretaker for an Alzheimer’s patient, I applaud you and want to pray for you! If you know someone who is in the midst of the long goodbye, reach out to them; offer a meal, a time to relax, or just a listening ear)

Photo credit:









You Need/I Need/We All Need

A post I wrote a couple of years ago

Came up in the memories of my Facebook page

A flood of emotion rose inside of me

It was a post about one elderly gentleman and his need for

New underwear!

He was standing in the aisle searching for the appropriately sized

T-shirts and boxers

He needed help

I was there

His matter of fact statement will be in my memory forever

                                                           “My wife always did this for me” he says

“I don’t have her no more.”


I don’t have her no more

I don’t have her no more…

Six little words that rocked his world

Six little words that made me think about mine

My parents are both gone

My siblings are both gone

Pastor Bill stepped in and was like a father to me

But he’s gone, too

I don’t have them no more


The fact of the matter is

We will all lose loved ones and friends


I’ve heard it said so many times

I don’t need to attend church

I can find God in nature

I hear good preaching on television

I read my Bible and pray at home

And that’s just fine

Good for you!

But what if we connected with a body of believers?

What if we remained connected in relationships?

What if we belonged to an even larger family?

We would never be alone

We would always have someone to share our burdens and our joys

We would always have someone to step in with fatherly advice

Someone to help us maneuver the scary places

The unfamiliar waters

Not only would we have relationship

We would have family


Maybe you really don’t NEED that connection right now

…you will one day

One day

Six words will rock your world

“I don’t have her no more”


“the cancer is in my liver”


“it’s just a matter of time”


Maybe YOU don’t need someone

But I promise

At this very moment



My challenge for you is this:

Find a group of believers

Connect with them

On Sunday

On Tuesday

In small groups

In your home




Someone needs you

You need someone

We need each other!


You Just Never Know!

He reminded me of the character Carl from the movie Up

Big glasses

Slight frame

White hair

All alone in the Men’s underwear aisle of WalMart

As I passed by the area doing frantic Christmas shopping of my own

He toddles towards me with a package of men’s T-shirts held out before him

“Are these a size small?” he asks

“Because I wear a small. I know because I looked before I came.”

Indeed they are, I tell him

“I wear a small so these should fit, right?”

Right, I say

“My wife always did this for me” he says

“I don’t have her no more.”

Not really sad, just matter-of-factly

I tell him I’m so sorry

Then I start to walk away

He then says

“There’s just so many to look through and I also need shorts”

I smile

Here I am in WalMart helping a complete stranger find underwear!

I show him the wall of “shorts”

Briefs or Boxers?

I wonder but don’t say anything

He looks bewildered by it all


I tell him the briefs are on this end of the aisle and the boxers at the other

I certainly don’t want to ASK him which he prefers!

He picks up a package of boxers

Brings them to me and asks

“Are these small? I think I wear small”

No, the L on the package means Large

He puts them back

As I start to walk away again

TWO clerks walk into the aisle

I leave him knowing they will take good care of my little man

And just to be sure

I tell them all I know about him

I walk away trying not to burst into big snot-slinging tears

My heart was breaking for this complete stranger

Who now has to navigate the big bad world of underwear all alone

Because his mate has gone before him

And left him to buy underwear

All alone

Makes me wonder just how many other firsts he has had to endure




Grocery shopping?


Dr appointments?




Is there someone in his life to make these firsts a little easier?

A son and daughter-in-law?

A daughter and son-in-law?

Or is there only the complete stranger helping him buy his underwear?

Thank You, Father for allowing me the privilege of being Your hands extended

Even if it was in the underwear aisle


You’re a Good Kid…

But there’s no demand for good goats

My brother, my big brother, my only brother

Said this to me every time he saw me

For my whole life

All the while giving me a big bear hug

Then he would say

You’re alright! You know it?

I was an oops baby

I came 15 years after my brother

13 years after my sister

I was the ultimate baby doll for my sister

She would take care of me

Dress me

Feed me

Love me

Buy things for me

Then tell me how rotten I was

That I was the favorite child

For my brother

I was the Perfect One

I was a genius

I was beautiful

I was talented

Every pay day

He would come home

Clean up

Then go out again

And he would always say

I’ll bring the girl back a trifle

Sometimes that “trifle” was a bottle of ice cold Pepsi

Or a Snickers

Once it was a “diamond” ring

I was a princess for sure that week

I still have my ring

My brother was my first prince

My brother had many mental challenges

He didn’t finish school

Left in the middle of 9th grade

They told my parents it was no use

He couldn’t learn

He probably had the mental capacity of a 12 year old

He struggled to read even a comic book

But put a Bible in his hands

And his comprehension SOARED

Algebra for me, the genius was impossible

But for my brother

All you had to do was read the problem aloud to him

He would solve it

Many people took advantage of his good nature and slow thinking

But he never let that keep him from trying

Once he was in a car accident

And a shyster lawyer and doctor thought they had found the perfect mark

After bogus xrays

Said doctor tried to convince my brother that he needed all kinds of medical treatment

Showed him xrays proving his point

My brother told him

Those are not mine

The doctor argued that yes indeed they were and he needed medical treatment

It was then that my brother pointed out to the “doctor”

That the xrays he was using to explain this medical problem

Belonged to a person who had a full set of teeth in his mouth

Whereas my brother

Only had one!

Tell me now

Who was smarter?

My brother passed away

June 7, 2013

At 8:20pm

His wife of nearly 40 years

His lifelong friend and now his brother in law

One sister in law

And his baby sister

By his side

Oh how I wanted him to open his eyes and tell me

You’re a good kid…

Just one more time

He’s with Jesus and our parents and our sister

It’s weird to be the sole survivor of your childhood family unit

Someone told me I was too young to be the last

Now I have no one to connect me to the child me

I feel unanchored

No one left to ask about the past

Or to say

Remember when…

So very thankful for my childhood friends

A connection to a bit of the past

And thankful for my husband and children and grandchildren

My connection to the here and now

Although he drove me crazy

I love my big brother

I will miss you!

I’ll see you soon

at Emily's wedding

at Emily’s wedding

Welcome Home Denise

A very dear friend of mine

Fought with all her might against an unseen enemy


Yellow bellied low life cancer

So many people I have loved

Have waged that same battle

Some have won

Most have not

Daddy, Mama, my sister Donna Rae

Multitudes of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends

But today

Right now

As I type these words

My friend is dancing and singing at the feet of Jesus

No more pain

No more suffering

With her beautiful smile

Shining eyes

And long lovely hair



This is how I will remember you

A teenage girl who took the time to care about a gangly preteen

You made me feel special and loved

Even when it wasn’t popular to do so

You helped me see Jesus by your actions

And I’ll never forget your cool car

You even let me ride in it!

I remember a time you redecorated your room

I suspect you wanted to spend time hanging out in there without a tagalong

But you let me stay anyway

You were always so beautiful and I wanted to be just like you

I fixed my hair like yours

Tried to put my makeup on like yours

When you were on a diet

So was I

Now, you’ve beat me to Heaven

But I think you are just paving the way

I’ll see you soon my friend

Until then

We will not grieve as those who have no hope

Because we know that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord