Donald Lewis Heacock

Well, I realize that it has been quite some time since I last blogged. The primary reason for this is I honestly haven’t been able to think of what I wanted to say.

My grandfather, Donald Lewis Heacock, went home to the Lord on May 20th, 2007. If you follow my blog, you’ll see that his wife of more than fifty years passed on less than three months prior.

It was this abrupt end to my grandpa’s life that left me unable to say anything worth saying on this blog. My grandmother was suffering from cancer and her passing was a welcome end to an outwardly visible suffering. My grandfather, on the other hand, was suffering quietly and internally. He had his share of maladies, he had suffered a stroke many years ago which affected his quality of life, and shortly before his passing had been to the doctor’s office trying to iron out some medication issues.

Even with those conditions, his passing was a complete surprise to everyone. In thinking about his life, especially after he lost his wife, it dawned on me that he was most likely overcome with a desire to be finished with this place. I can’t imagine what he was feeling, and as typical with Heacock men, he wouldn’t have shared those feelings anyway. I do know that as a veteran, a musician, and an avid woodworker, his stroke had changed his ability to enjoy life as much in those ways. I my opinion, he was living to take care of his wife, in whatever capacity he could, even if that meant just being there for her.

Once she had passed, I think his drive to keep on breathing was gone and it was only a matter of time until God stepped in and ended his mortal tour of duty. I think these two pictures sum it up perfectly.

The second picture was taken at my parent’s house after Grandma’s funeral. His expression looks to me like a man who is trying to figure out where he goes from here.

I’ll end this post with a reminder… Take time to talk with those people that are special to you. In my lifetime, I never got to know my grandpa very well. He was always working on something it seems, and I just don’t have a lot of memories of him from my childhood. In reading his obituary, I saw that he served in the Army (which I knew), but he served in a band and played the upright bass (which I never knew). I can honestly say that as I read that, I felt like I had let a piece of my own history pass off this earth without spending enough time to learn/appreciate it. I love music, and that love was installed by my parents, especially my father. I’m not sure (see my above note about Heacock men), but my dad’s love of music was probably influenced by his father. That, my friends, is almost a legacy of music. And I never knew.

Take the time to learn about your history, and if you can do that with a living legacy, do it asap. Don’t wait for another opportunity, it’s just not worth it.

Here’s an anonymous poem that reminds me of my grandpa…

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The soldier stood and faced his God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass

“Step forward now you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek,
And to my church have you been true?”

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
“No Lord, I guess I ain’t,
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be the saints

“I’ve had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough
And sometimes I’ve been violent
Because the streets were awfully rough”

But I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills just got to steep,

And I never passed a cry for help
Although, at times I shook with fear
And sometimes, God forgive
I’ve wept unmanly tears

I know I don’t deserve a place
Among the people here
That never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears

If you have a place for me here O’ Lord
It needn’t be so grand
I’ve never expected, or had so much
But if you don’t I’ll understand”

There was a silence all around the throne
Where the Saints had often trod
As this soldier waited quietly
For the judgment from his God

“Step foward now you soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell”

-Chris

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaime says:

    You make me cry every time. Darn you.

  2. Chris says:

    🙂 Crying isn’t the intention, but it is often a byproduct of some serious contemplating. Especially when contemplating something as final as death. For weeks I couldn’t even verbalize what I was thinking. It was like my mind was on pause, unable, or unwilling, to consider what had actually happened.

    Eventually, I can ask Grandpa exactly what he was feeling, and that’s comforting. I honestly wish that I had taken to the time to do that earlier though. That very thing is what kept me from thinking it through. I guess it was a vague hope that if I didn’t move on, maybe time would move back and I could work it out better the second time around.

    Obviously, that isn’t going to happen, and moreover, I owe it to everyone else to actually say, “I can’t fix or change this. It is a bummer that I can’t. So, I’m not going to let this happen again.”

    -Chris

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