Pop died a year ago today. I remember it like it was yesterday.52fd31e9ca16b48427b774c9

I keep a diary. For the past two years, I’ve documented every day of my life in a diary. I call them, “The Dear Mom Diaries” because instead of “Dear Diary” I write, “Dear Mom”. I started The Dear Mom Diaries as a way to communicate with my mom. I address each entry to my mom because each entry is meant to be a letter to her. The way it works is that my parents are allowed to read any of my diaries at any time for any reason. That’s why I write them. They can see how I’m feeling, what I’ve been up to, and things like that. Right now, I’m on diary #14 and in two years I have written 2,516 pages of diary entries. Because I keep a diary, and diligently write about each day, I have those seven, heart-breaking weeks carefully documented on 348 pages (two full diaries) it took from the day Pop was diagnosed to the day of his funeral. I read some of those pages today for the first time since I wrote them.

These are some of my diary entries from those seven weeks.

Entry 1: The Day I Found Out About Pop

Diary #2

Dear Mom,                                              Day 213              1:33am          Thursday, February 6, 2014

Please No…

…I woke up too early. 6:30am. Actually, I did a few things before getting ready for school… After school, Aaron and I drove to drama. He and I were talking about my artificial sugar fast tomorrow… Drama was fun. I got to tap dance some more. The class ends at 7:00pm. I left at 7:05pm because they were going over and I had to go straight to Beauty and the Beast Rehearsal… When I got home, I put on my PJ’s and went to your room. You were in your bed, with your computer in your lap. Something was off with you until you finally said, “Lacy, I had a really rough day.” I knew bad news was headed my way, but I never saw this coming. Tears filled your eyes as you whispered, “Lacy, Pop has cancer.” And you lost it. You and I both cried together. From what you said, it doesn’t look good.

“He has lived a good life, and has a family who adores him.” –You (mom)

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                            Ps. i love you



When you keep a diary and write about each day, two things become very important: The first page, and the last page. The first page a fresh start, the last page is like the season finale of a TV show. The last page is the most important. It’s always interesting to go back and compare the first page and the last page of my diaries and see what all has happened. Diary #2 is a 402 paged, leather-bound diary, with sheet music decorating the cover. I started it on July 17, 2013, and finished it on February 6, 2014. That diary tells the story of the best year of my life, so far. It took me 213 days to fill it up. Day 213 was the day I found out about Pop. That last entry set the tone for the rest of the year.

As I read my own words about a man who I’d been so close to and loved so much, I see how strong Pop really was. I never saw him cry or get angry. He wasn’t mad at God, and didn’t to the sweet bliss of denial, like I did. He was at peace. Pop’s attitude is what kept that tragedy from leaving wounds that time wouldn’t be able to heal.

Entry 2: Pop Cracking Jokes in the Hospital

Diary #3

    Dear Mom,                Day 26      1:21am    Tuesday     March 4, 2014

Hospital Visit

…I got glitter everywhere. Daddy left at 6:15am. You were at the hospital all day… Evan and I stopped by. I was only going to stay for about 15 minutes because I had to get to dance, but I had much rather stayed with Pop, so I did. Mr. Nash came by to bring Tutu dinner. He stayed on for a while; it was nice to talk to him. I sat right beside Pop pretty much the whole time. His pain level was at a 6, but he handled it well.

Tutu went home before us. The three nurses who were helping Pop, MJ, Danielle, and Mike were all so nice. You said that Pastor Mike and Pastor Jeff came to visit Pop. That’s really sweet.

While we were with Pop, we Skyped Connor. It was good to talk to him. He comes home Friday. Pop was funny tonight. Much of it was due to the heavy pain medication. Either way, he was funny. Tutu was funny too. We got the “bed” ready for Uncle Mike. He is staying with Pop tonight.

[Talking about the button that gives him more pain meds]

“It’s my own meth lab!” -Pop

“It’s remote cocaine!” –Pop

“Let’s go out on Georgia 400 and take a left!” –Pop

“I’m just looking for something to fix around here.” –Pop

“I got my bed, I got my hotel bathroom, I got my meth lab; I’m all set!” –Pop


I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    



Pop and Tutu lived with us for the four best years of my life. Even when they moved into their own house, they were still only ten minutes away. I am so thankful that my family has been able to have such a close relationship with my grandparents.

Entry 3: Early Easter

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                                                     Day 1     8:50pm          Sunday,                       March 23, 2014

Easter Lunch

I’m at the train station with the family. We are waiting to see Connor off. The train is thirty minutes late. Connor is working on pulling the seven hundred bobby pins out of my hair…

…We had Easter lunch with Tutu, Pop, and the Dyes. It was yummy. It was sad because we were having Easter lunch early to make sure Pop would be there. I don’t think Pop is going to make it to Easter. We all gathered around Pop’s hospital bed and Tutu volunteered to say the blessing. She got one sentence into the prayer and then broke down. But Pop stayed strong. Daddy ended up saying the prayer.

“I’m an adult…” -Connor

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    


I’m so grateful for every moment I got to spend with Pop.

Entry 4: The Last Time I Saw Pop

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                         Day 6        5:01pm      Friday,          March 28, 2014

This Hurts

Daddy and I are on the way home from rehearsal. We just passed Montclair. That’s the neighborhood where Pop and Tutu used to live. I didn’t bother me until I saw that stretch of road on which Pop would drive the Gator. Memories of driving and riding the Gator with Pop flooded my mind. It’s hard not to cry. I have so many memories with Pop. I treasure all of them, but it hurts to think about them right now.


Right after I stopped writing, we went by Pop and Tutu’s new house. Pop doesn’t look like Pop anymore. He was hallucinating. His words because slurred and he knew it. I saw him, I held his hand, and he used what little strength he had to kiss my hand.

I trust that God has a plan. He could still heal Pop. There’s still some hope; not much, but a little. I’m going to hold on to that little piece of hope for as long as I can.

“I love you.” –Pop


I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    


That was the last time I saw Pop before he died. It was a happy visit. No tears. Pop was smiling.

Entry 5: Pop is Healed

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                    Day 9            Wednesday, April 1, 2014

Finally Home

Pop passed away at about 6:00am. Daddy said that you, Tutu, and Uncle Mike were up all night with him. It doesn’t feel real. None of this feels real. It feels like a bad dream… I saw it coming. Daddy gets this face and tone of voice when he is about to tell us bad news. He told us about Pop, and I zoned out after that. I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel anything. I was focused on getting my socks out of the laundry room.

I went upstairs and sat in front of my mirror. Calen asked me if her outfit was ok. I said yes. It took me a minute before I could tell her. She handled it just like I needed her to. She asked if I was ok, and then asked me what she could do to make today easier. Today is going to be hard. Uninformed adults are going to be asking me how Pop is doing today. The two pages I accidentally skipped a few days ago were just enough for me to write. Leave it to Pop to pass away on April Fools Day.


I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    



When I was younger, our whole family would go to the beach. Pop would wake me up early in the morning to go walk on the beach. I got to have that quality time with Pop, and I loved every minute of it. In 2007 Tutu and Pop took me on a trip to Savannah, GA. Every morning, Pop would wake me up and we would walk down River Street. He would let me pick out candy at the candy stores no matter how early it was. We would walk around for as long as I wanted. I always had so much fun. Pop and my dad have been the only ones who could wake me up early to do something I didn’t have to do. Pop also had this off road thing called the Gator that he would drive around when he worked on his yard. My brothers and I always loved driving it. Pop would take us, one at a time, to drive the Gator around the neighborhood. I was very young when I started driving the Gator. Pop told me that I would aim for all of the low hanging branches so that they’d hit him. When Pop and Tutu lived with us, Pop loved to work in our yard. He made many trips to Lowe’s Hardware store, and I usually went 531d3c6ea689b46173a22371with him. He was always so much fun to be around.

Now that a year has passed, time has begun to heal the wounds. I can think about the memories I have of Pop and smile. I have one of his sweatshirts under my bed folded in a Ziploc bag so that whenever I open it, it still smells like him. I look back at these diary pages and remember the hardest time in my family’s life. But all of the pain we’ve experienced is the price of loving someone as deeply as we loved Pop. 

Pop was such a great grandfather. He was so devoted to us. He was a fantastic husband to Tutu. They were always so adorable to watch together. They were like their own little sitcom. Pop was also a great father. My mom told me so many stories about him. Pop was on the Disaster Relief team and loved it. The men who were with him on those missions wore their yellow Disaster Relief jackets to Pops funeral, and escorted his casket to the hearse. That was my favorite part of the service. There were over 500 people at Pop’s service. He touched so many lives in so many ways. We all miss him so much, but at least we know that we’ll be reunited again one day in heaven.

I started working on lyrics for a song whenever it would hit me too hard. I finished it the day Pop died. I’ve never really shown it to anyone, until now. This is the song I wrote for Pop.

Pop’s Song


(Verse 1)

I’m fighting tears;

I’m being Brave;

I’m holding on;

I’m having faith.

I cling to hope,

But still I pray

That this will all

Just go away.


(verse 2)

Please can it be

That I’m asleep?

Say nothing’s wrong,

It’s just a dream.

So when I wake,

To my relief,

I’ll see that all’s

As it should be.


(Chorus 1)

But I know

You’re in God’s hands

Why should I fear?

He has a plan.

If in the end

He calls you home,

I know I’ll see you when I go


(Verse 3)

It’s getting hard.

You’re getting worse.

And though you smile,

I know it hurts.

You’re Faith in God;

It keeps us strong,

As we’re all trying

To hold on


(Chorus 1)

But I know

You’re in God’s hands

Why should I fear?

He has a plan.

If in the end

He calls you home,

I know I’ll see you when I go

(Verse 4)

Our prayers were heard,

Cause now you’re healed.

No suffering now,

Or pain you feel.

Cause now you’re home,

And home you’ll be,

With Christ for all



(Verse 5)

Don’t worry ‘bout

Your lovely bride.

I promise you,

She’ll be alright.

You will be missed;

We all will cry.

But we all know,

It not goodbye.


(Chorus 2)

Cause I know

You’re in God’s hands.

And though it hurts,

He has a plan.

And one day when

He calls me home,

I’ll ask him why you had to go



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