November 21, 2017

Legendary Grandparents – Heroes We Always Hope to Be (Poppi, Guy Allison)

The photograph below was taken at Poppi’s last Christmas this past year in 2013 with my sister, Allison. I thought the image depicted the warmth of a unforgettable hug.

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To honor my grandfather in addition to his previous dedication blog post, I also wanted to add this poem. I think the words for the piece speak for all us who have lost a loved one.

Poppi: The Moments Missed

I stare into open space before me in the Corpus Christi sunset skies.
Oh my, I think to myself, how quickly all time flies.
Then in the moment of unsettledness, I remember the warmth
And the gentleness expressed in your last words spoken by your side.

I think of the moments with you missed.
I think of my wedding day, the girl of mine, you never met
The love expressed through my forever wife kissed.

Two more graduations with degrees I continue to earn
The ceremonies you never made with recognition that
I will never stop to study and never stop to learn.

As a man of mature stature, tall, and farmer tanned with one good eye.
He and my blind Boston Terrier, King David, could play the pirate’s patch.
Poppi portrayed the wisdom of a Mister Miyagi and well-formed bonsai.

He served our country in the navy, raised five spirited girls,
Managed a business, adopted a son, ranched a farm,
And often complimented my great good looks and hansom curls.

Like my grandmother from the Cartee clan,
I continue to admire and wonder if I will ever be compared
To the Jesus example set and legend I met in this man.

Some knew him as a friend in his familiar name, Guy.
I knew the grandfather figure of silent strength called Poppi.
Without his presence in our lives, we still fail to say good bye.

He was the stone in our family foundations
As many continue lost in the journey
With no destination in the renewal of Christ inspirations.

The spark between us continues in my heart to electrify
In the angel around I know sitting still on my knees
As reality reminds me of your loss in the tears I cry.

In your honor, I will continually reach for my higher height.
Some doubt me. Some hate me. Some ridicule me.
Grandparents potentially speak beyond the dark with words of light.

After a long fight with demons and the suppression of cancer,
I asked for a miraculous healing for many nights of prayer,
But God planned differently in the spoken words he chose to answer.

I could not appear at your final burial where my heart aches.
My reality cannot accept the truth before me that you are gone.
The moment’s peace before ocean waves crumbles in the water breaks.

I stare into open space before me in the Corpus Christi sunset skies.
Oh my, I think to myself, how quickly all time flies.
Then in the moment of unsettledness, I remember the warmth
And the gentleness expressed in your last words spoken by your side.

August 24, 2014

Known as Poppi to Me, Guy Allison to Others– A Glorious Life to the Glorious End. My dedication inspired….

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John 1:12-14 (NIV)

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

My grandmother (my father’s mother), Dot Cartee, died recently of terminal four stage cancer. I expected her passing with time’s many hints that her arrival into heaven soon approached. Little did I know that my grandfather, Poppi (my mother’s father), would soon follow her passage out of this world with his own journey home. His decline, with his own battle against cancer, was quick without much warning. The pain of the occurrence gongs with deafening hardness like the scratching of finger nails across a chalk board. This internal sign of cacophonous sounds becomes the Holy Spirit’s signal. Something wrong is about to occur in my own sphere of influence, sometimes the death of a loved one.

On an honest level, I did not know Poppi as well as I wanted to. While I have many fond memories on his farm as a child, Poppi never talked about himself much, unless you asked him questions, which of course I did. I think there was a humility about him where he rather ask me about me instead of talking about his own affairs. You might describe his personality as one of silent confidence and quiet strength.

I remember one of the last conversations I had over the phone with Poppi in his last few weeks cognizant. He expressed his newfound faith that people were “still good.”

…..“There are still good people in this world.” As Poppi became ill, many unexpected saviors came forward, including a few neighbors in Lenoir City who really did not know my grandfather all that well until he was sick. They helped in many miraculous ways. While so much tragedy occurs around us in a downtrodden world, Poppi saw the good in those who helped others. He mentioned that he was still learning life lessons, even at his older age.

While I will not go into too many details about his personal life, Poppi often gave family and friends the benefit of the doubt to offer assistance in times of need. When I would probably have given up on certain individuals, Poppi never seemed to lose hope for the better person in each of us to come out. He gave many loved ones chance after chance after chance, sometimes including support for those who struggled financially, with no expectations in return. Poppi reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “You never turn your back on family, even when they do.”

And again I never heard of Poppi’s silent acts of kindness sometimes until many years after the fact.

Two words specifically come to mind when I think of Poppi….a man of honor and a man of heroism. From a military background, Poppi knew the meaning of honor well, and he served many of us until he died as our one of our favorite heroes. Some might even say with his familiar authoritative presence, Poppi was the cornerstone of the Allison clan.

His health never seemed to falter much, until cancer took him home. He stayed active and took care of himself with a wholesome lifestyle.

What can we learn from the death of a loved one….someone so close to our hearts like Poppi? Life is short. If you desire something and I mean, something down deep, then go get it until you have it! Other people cannot determine what is best for you. Only you and God can do that.

I believe one of the foremost struggles humans face is falling into complacency. We settle for less than our hearts desire with dreams sitting still. I personally, for one, tire of feeling stagnant, with my feet in the water, paddling but going nowhere. For several months, I have desired to be closer to home, particularly in close proximity to my parents and nephews, Ayden and Brogan.

While Poppi lived what I consider a simple life, I think he would want the best for us as we struggle well to define ourselves and the ambitions we seek and strive for. I think he would look me in the eye and say, “I am c, grandson. Your journey just began. Always move forward, and never give up on what you really want out of life.”

You might call this blog entry my own dedication to Poppi, with my afterthoughts of his passing and memory. The words seem hard to find on the subject of love after death; however my fingers press the keyboard forward to write on….to write on….to realize that we should not and cannot afford to waste the gift of life. I know Poppi lived well, and his impact on my life will journey with me for many years to come….almost like a legend we continue to hear in stories, but choose to never ever forget.

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