A great man passed away today. Other than my family, he was probably one of the first people to meet me after I was born. Since my dad was attending SMU, my family lived just outside of Dallas, far away from family and friends. Clyde and his wife, Vivian, took us in and became close to our family, close enough that my sister and I have always referred to them as our “adopted grandparents.”
Although we moved away before I was old enough to really know them, we continued to visit at least once a year. They were a huge part of my childhood. We loved our visits to Texas simply for the fact that we got to see Vivian and Clyde. I have so many great memories of helping Clyde feed the animals out on the farm, riding on “our” pony, sitting in the back bedroom of their house with my sister listening to Tiffany and Tommy Page tapes, sitting on the swing out in the yard in the evenings, running around Vivian’s office while she worked, being fascinated by their “old-style” refrigerator, drinking out of aluminum cups that made everything seem so much colder, and so much more.
The last time I saw them was a few months after my daughter was born in August of 2008. Walking into their house felt like taking a trip back in time. Very little had changed. Everything was exactly where I remembered it being, down to the powder container on Vivian’s dressing table. It was strange, yet comforting.
I sat there watching Clyde hold my baby girl, just as he had done with me thirty years before, knowing that it very well may be the last time I would ever see him. His health had been going downhill for quite a while and he really wasn’t expected to make it much longer.
A few days ago we found out that Clyde was on around-the-clock hospice care. This morning we got the news that he was gone. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to make another trip down to visit, though I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to make that last trip and that he got to meet my children.
I won’t be able to make it down for the funeral, as much as I would like to go. I want to be there to hug Vivian. I want a chance to say that final good-bye. Since I can’t be there to do it in person, I’ll leave it here and hope that he knows just how much he was loved.