Saying Goodbye to Pop

Pop and Baby Kin

I wrote this tribute to my dad last June, on Father’s Day.

I wanted him to know what he meant to me,

to us,

before it was too late.


My dad thanked me profusely after reading this, for all of the kind words, but didn’t feel he really deserved them all, he said.


My dad knew he wasn’t perfect.

It’s part of what made him Pop.

He could laugh at himself and he could laugh at Mimi.

Nobody could tell a better Mimi story than my father, by the way, although my sister Kath has definitely inherited the gift and is gaining ground.


Mimi, Maddie, and Kath


While we were home for the holidays this year, we gathered in the family room to pray before dinner. My 5-year-old daughter, Makinley, said she would do the honors.  She prayed the sweetest prayer, thanking God for sending His son into this world to die on a cross, so that we could live forever in Heaven with Him.




She wrapped up her words with a real kicker…

“And thank you, God, that Pop’s not dead.”

Ahhh, the innocence of a child.

There was gasping, smiling, and there were giggles.

Pop was sitting right there.

Yet she basically said what everyone else was thinking…

acutely aware that Pop was still here with us.




And what a year this has been that Pop lived to see.

God wasn’t done with him yet.

I truly believe He wanted to give Pop peace before he left this world.

He wanted Pop to see Ken celebrate one year sober.

He wanted him to see the last of his four children married.


Mimi and Pop


 The Happy Couple


He wanted him to be able to return to Hilton Head for a family vacation, so many years later, and revisit all the memories that place held for our family.


Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant



He wanted Pop to meet Mary Jane Lilly.  A sweet and precious gift after many years of struggle.


Baby MJ


He wanted Pop to have his very last Christmas, with all of his children together, under one roof.


The Kid's Table

The Adults


But Pop was growing worn.

He was tired.

His prayers were growing thin.

Even before the day would begin,

he was worn.*


He was losing his will to fight the weekly dialysis appointments and advancing Parkinson’s,

knowing things would only get worse.

And lately, when he had a quiet moment, he had a few things foremost on his mind…

UFOs, the End Times, and a growing concern for his loved ones’ well-being.


The Gang


While we were in Hilton Head this summer, he wanted me to gather the family around for a Bible study.

I was hesitant.

I didn’t want to force people to sit at a table to read the Bible and be preached to.


Mimi and Gab


I talked him out of it…

Maybe I was wrong.


Beach Bound with my boy!


I told him that even God gives us a choice.

Because love that is not freely given, is not true love.

Why don’t we just sit here and study the Bible together, I suggested.

And if anyone wants to join us, so be it.


 Ken Maryellen and Pop


But I think something was weighing heavy on my dad’s heart.

Because he told me so. More than once.

Through tears, he said, he knew his days were numbered, he didn’t know how much time he had left.

And his fear was that he wouldn’t see the people he loved most in Heaven.


 Ken and Mimi


He was in this place of deep concern and yet his body failed him.

His voice did not have the strength,

his words were garbled,

and his hand betrayed him with a tremor.

He wanted me to help him.


What I believe Pop wanted me to help him share, with all of his friends and family whom he loved so much…

is that Jesus is the only way.

 Dad and Kev


The world is confused.

Society tells us if you’re a generally good person, then off to Heaven you go.

Society preaches so long as you acknowledge that God exists, you’re good when judgement day arrives.

But the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way.


This isn’t meant to offend or judge.

Goodness knows, we don’t make the rules.

We’re merely readers of the rescue plan.

And the plan says, all of us fall short of perfection.

And our sin means death.


We therefore need a rescuer, a redeemer, so that we might live forever in the presence of a perfect God.

Jesus is our rescue.

He paid the penalty for our inability to measure up, to be good enough.

If we accept the gift of Jesus and follow Him and His ways,

we will live in Heaven for all eternity.


Pop and Keag dancing


There. I said it.

And I know Pop will be glad I did.


Because my dad believed our life here on Earth is but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.

He believed all of the ugly, difficult struggles would be redeemed for good.

And he was ready for the weight of this world to be lifted and for God to give Him rest.


Bob, Bobby, Dad, Pop…


The Whole Lotta Us


You will be greatly missed,

but you have left an amazing legacy.


*These words were inspired by the song “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North.


  1. Precious! God bless you! :-)

  2. Hugs!!! xoxo

  3. Heidi Petterson says:

    Makes me think of my sweet grandpa. He’s been Home for over a year and he is still SO missed. His life was a beautiful testimony, too. <3

Leave a Reply to Colleen Cancel reply