Heritage Music

Gone From The Earth

gone from this earth

Everyone has experienced death-had loved ones who are now gone from the Earth. I’ve lost Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Friends, Cousins-all of whom I loved deeply-and while it’s human nature to mourn for them-it’s also human nature for most of them to slip to the back of our minds-their memories only surfacing now and again.

However, sometimes we lose someone that we never quit longing for-the death of a loved one that continues to evoke a deep sense of longing-of needing them-for the rest of our lives. There are songs about loved ones waiting for us, even songs about gentle voices calling come. I don’t believe the writers were suggesting we speed up the reunion-I believe the writers were attempting to capture the reality that the love, the thoughts, the sacrifices, the goodwill-all the things connected to those we’ve lost-remain in us-resulting in a deep longing.

My Papaw, Pap’s father, died the year before The Deer Hunter and I were married. He was a pulpwood cutter by trade and a Baptist Preacher by love. He was a small man in stature-but a larger than life man in character. When he was just a boy he fell off the roof and broke his leg which was never set correctly. The accident left him with a pronounced limp for the rest of his life. Another feature that caught your attention, were his eyes-in addition to being simultaneously piercing and twinkling-one was green one was brown. A few folks claimed Papaw’s eyes glowed with fire when he preached.

The 2 things I miss most about him-his great joyful love for his family-especially his grandchildren, and his hope for life and in life.

I’ve missed him since the day he died, but there have been times I longed for him more than words can describe. I longed for his clear vision on life’s hard times, I longed to hear him say “Tipper do you know I love you-and Tipper it’ll all be alright the Lord will see to it.”

During an especially difficult time in life, while looking for solace I went to sit beside his grave-thinking maybe it would help me regain my footing on life’s path. It was early morning-cool, crisp, foggy. The church has been deserted for years; the grave lies under a huge oak tree. As I walked up to the grave-it seemed I heard Papaw say “Tipper your answer isn’t here and I’m not either.” Now, I’m not saying it was him-I believe it was my common sense regaining control of my despairing heart. Reminding me I didn’t believe he was there nor that he would advise me from the grave, reminding me I was just longing for Papaw-for his love and wisdom I was grieving for someone who left so long ago.

December 2nd made 16 years since his death. I still miss him fiercely. And among all the gentle voices I’ve lost, I hear his calling the clearest.

For this week’s Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot a song of longing-Old Black Joe written by Stephen Foster. I know you’ll like this one.

Hope you enjoyed the old song-and I hope you’ll leave me a comment with your thoughts about longing or even tell me about someone you long for.


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  • Reply
    chirrl whatley
    May 24, 2022 at 4:09 am

    Dear Tipper
    It must be a common thing for folks to go to the side of our loved ones grave when we are hurting.i have done it too. My Grandpa was a pulp wooder too. His parents and little brother died in the Spanish flu epidemic and left 4 little ones.The man that took Grandpa in was mean and used him only as a field hand. But he was full of fun when I was little but he never got over that hard time. I miss them all and the old times.Looking forward to Heaven. Love ya,Chirrl

  • Reply
    February 4, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I have a lump in my throat after reading this beautiful post. So full of love for your Paw-Paw. I lost my mom over 10 years ago now and know exactly what you mean about those moments of intense longing. Sometimes we just need their wisdom and love though I don’t believe it’s really left us at all. We just have to listen more closely for it.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2009 at 3:47 am

    A wonderful post Tipper! thank you!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Your grandfather sounds like a fantastic person, Tipper. I was not fortunate enough to have known either of my grandfathers. My paternal grandfather died when I was two, and my maternal grandfather died when my mom was just sixteen.
    I do know that my own daughter had a unique and special relationship with my dad (her paternal grandfather died before she was born). I’ve often thought how blessed she was to have such a great ‘Pappa”. My dad died about five years ago, but he is still very much alive in our memories, and even frequently in our conversation.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Oh, Tipper, my heart goes out to you. I can feel your sadness by reading your words. I think we all have that same kind of feeling over a lost loved one. I had an uncle who was very dear. Your wordss were so beautiful on this. I just love the photo of the headstone underneath the tree. blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    February 1, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Love this song. The guys really did a great job with it.
    You know all it takes is thinking about our Dad, seeing as how we just lost him a few months ago, to make any of us cry. Then we start thinking about our Mom and it starts all over again. We miss them so much.
    Our Grandmom (Mom’s mother) said she could hear our cousin, Dawn, calling her everyday. A year to the day that Dawn passed, our Grandmom passed. Then we KNEW she had really heard her.
    I would have loved to while away the hours with you PawPaw. To hear his views on the Bible and the world itself, I think we would have been good friends. xxoo

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    February 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Wonderful heartfelt post. God so blessed you with this amazing man. I loved everyone’s comments as well. Most of us carry one or two special people in our hearts for all time. I miss my grandma like that.

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    February 1, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Tipeer: I would have loved to have meet Papaw and talked with him. I’m sure he has his reward in heaven. Paul really looks like Pap.
    Loved the music on the player and the picken in the kitchen was neat.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Such a beautiful post.
    He’s been gone 21 years but I still really miss my daddy.
    You’ve got me in tears, too. 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 1, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Well Tipper, you’ve made me cry again. My parents and grandparents have gone on as well as two mates and then there was another that just wandered off.
    One set of grandparents died tragically before I was born so I never knew them. Of the other set it was my grandmother, Dollie that I think of most. She was a very kind and thoughtful woman. She knew everyone’s favorite foods and when you visited she would fix them. She always made mashed potatoes and spinach for me. She canned and gardened, she had chickens, cows, and pigs and her yard was full of flowers and fruit, grapes, pears, apples peaches, walnuts, raspberries and more that I don’t remember. It was always such fun to visit her. I wish I could sit and talk to her again. There was so much more to learn from her.
    One of my mates helped me back from an illness that I didn’t think I would survive. I long for him often and call on his help when times are tough.
    One of the facts of aging is that more and more of your family and friends are gone from this earth. But a gift that goes with it is I’ve learned that they always live in my heart.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    The legacy we leave is the life we live each day. Sounds like your grandfather left a wonderful legacy, Tipper. This is a reminder that we can all leave a legacy that will stay with others long after we are gone.
    The person I long for is my mother, and the person I miss the most, is my brother.
    But all loved ones who have gone stay with me in memory.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    A wonderful post, Tipper. I miss my mom and grandmother most. Grandma lived to be 92 – a long and interesting life. But I sometimes wonder why Mom was taken so young at only 72, she was a very special person.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    A nice tribute. I miss my grandma like that.

  • Reply
    Joan J
    January 31, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Your memories and the song both brought a tear to my eye. My dad passed when he was just 51 years old, when I was 24. I miss him every single day, but especially when my kids were growing up — I know they missed out by not having him as a Grandpa. And now, my grandson – he’s so much like my Dad! I only hope my kids or grandkids will miss me 1/10th as much as I miss my Dad!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 31, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    The doctor was with Dad when I went into his hospital room. As I approached, I could see that Dad was trembling, shaking uncontrollably. The doctor left, and Dad said nothing about it but I knew somehow he’d just been told that he was going to die soon. Dad said nothing because he couldn’t have talked about it and because he knew it would hurt both of us. But I knew intuitively. The sepsis he had contracted either at the nursing home or at the hospital had ruined his kidneys and they couldn’t clean out the poison.
    A few days later he was dying and all seven of us kids came home and gathered around him and he was racked with pain and the doctor advised us to let him die. Disconnect the tubes, keep him on morphine and let God carry him home to wait for us on another shore.
    He was poor and collectively so were we. He had always told us that he would just as soon have his earthly remains cremated and not put in the ground for worms to churn. So, we made the arrangements and had a beautiful funeral service with lots of good memories of our childhood and our daddy and then we left him there.
    A few weeks later we got his ashes and we all gathered at a stream by an old grist mill, a place he loved and where he had been at peace with the world. We let the dust fall into the stream.
    We made no marker.
    Now we have no place to go, not like a graveyard or a sepulcher.
    We only have the place by the mill and him by our side still smiling his kind love for his beloved children and we miss him, lo these many years after he went home.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2009 at 11:52 am

    My dad passed away two weeks after my first daughter was born, sixteen months after I married Dirt. It was a huge blow as we were very close and had gone through a lot together while the rest of the family were off to college or married. I miss him for myself and I miss him for my children. It is amazing to me to realize it has been twenty seven years.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2009 at 7:52 am

    That’s a poingnant story and one I can relate to. My grandmother filled that place in my heart. The absence remains almost 27 years later. At times, I go down to her grave, which is 40 miles from here. I know she isn’t there. Yet somehow being there helps me feel better. Why is that? It’s a mystery to me, one I accept and make the most of as I search for answers.
    Thanks for this post. Your grampa was quite a man. I am always interested in folks who do one thing by trade and another by love. Suc heart!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your grandfather – it brought back tender memories for me.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    January 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    What a wonderful post Tipper! So great that you had such a meaningful relationship with him.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    January 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Such a heartfelt post, Tipper! You bore your soul. My parents are still alive, and my grandparents I never knew, but I lost my youngest sister 10 years ago. I miss her so. She had a sweet and generous disposition. You think it gets easier, and in a way it does, but the memories are often just not enough!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    That was a lovely post. Well done.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Your writing is so heartfelt. It’s right that we let most people slip to the back of our minds. I have with everyone but one. My grandparents all died when I was a lot younger, and though I loved them and think of them a lot(except for one), I had a child’s relationship with them. My mom is the only one that makes me feel like Papaw makes you feel. It’s good to have one or two of those in our lives.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    January 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    What a beautiful post.
    I miss all of my grandparents, but I count myself lucky to have gotten to meet each of them in this life. My siblings weren’t so lucky. Truly, I miss most of their generation. It’s sad that we don’t appreciate them like we should until we are older and, too often, they are gone. Something to look forward to in the next life.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    January 30, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Gosh, don’t get me started. All four of my grandparents….I miss them so so much, plus I had an “extra” grandmother. My grandmother’s double-first cousin lived with her for decades…I miss her just like I do my grandparents. How blessed I am that I had such a close relationship with these salt-of-the-earth people, all of my grandparents. They are in my thoughts continually. I loved them so.
    Then there’s my dad, of course, my only sibling, and my college roommate who died the first year after we graduated….she and I were like sisters. There’s so many…what a homecoming awaits.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    January 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Well, now you got me in tears.
    Wonderful story. I’ve been thinking of my dad lately. His birthday is coming up on Feb 16th, he would have been 81 yrs old. He passed on in 1990.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Tipper, I love this post!
    It brought tears to my eyes.
    You know who I miss. My Dad. I was closer to him than anyone in my life.

  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    January 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I still miss my Granddad so bad. He crossed over in 2002. He was my best friend. I know it sounds odd, but he was. We did everything together. Sometimes I miss him so much I find myself tearing up out of sorrow. I picture myself just sitting with him on his front porch, we did that nearly every day. We’d just sit there for hours and talk about whatever came to mind. I would stretch out in the porch swing and he would sit in the split bottom chair. These memories are precious and it helps me to realize that Granddad is never truly gone, he is with me…is a part of me…and I know that if I pass these very qualities and make these same memories with my children and at some point grandchildren, then granddad will live on in them as well.
    My wife Shirley only got to meet my Granddad once, a few weeks before he passed. He was on morphine and was talking out of his head, but I introduced Shirley to him, he became clear of mind and thought, patted me on the hand and smiled, then looked and said to Shirley, “I took care of him all these years, now it’s your turn.” He then turned back to me, smiled and patted my hand again, and fell back into his morphine stupor.
    I still get choked up over talking about Granddad, but I know when it is my turn to cross over, he will be there waiting for me and holler at me from his front porch, “Where you been, Hackey?”

  • Reply
    City Mouse/Country House
    January 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Oh, just I loved the p&g in the kitchen for this week! I am a big Stephen Foster fan. I’m a fan of a lot of song writers from his era, but Foster is a particular favorite. As for longing, I long to get out of the city and on to our land in the country. One step at a time, I suppose.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I am sorry for your loss however long ago it may have been. Some people you just never forget. I have a picture of my grandpa on the kitchen wall and I talk to him in my mind every day….

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    January 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    What a wonderful story about this great man. I enjoyed it very much. My daddy, granddaddy, and great-granddaddy were all Baptist preachers so I really relate to this story.

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