Saying Goodbye

My grandfather died July 17th and the funeral is this Friday. I know that seems pretty far out for a funeral to be but my family is pretty busy what with working a cruise, performing weddings and the like. It’s been a crazy time.

I’m kinda looking forward to this funeral because it will be a chance to say goodbye. Going this long without the goodbye has been like living in a state of denial. I mean I saw the man about once, maybe twice a year. So going this long without the funeral has allowed me to believe that he’s fine, living his life in South Bend or Raymond, WA (he split his time in both places). It’s allowed me to not really grieve.

I grieved a bit when he died for sure but it’s been so long it’s like it didn’t really happen. I can look at pictures and listen to the voicemail from the last time he called and pretend that he’s still here. I mean I know he’s not but denial can be pretty strong. It can convince you that reality is not reality.

Anyway this post isn’t about my non-grieving process. It’s about the poems I wrote. See my aunts have been arranging a couple of tributes for Grandpa and they asked his kids and grandkids and great grandkids to put together something for Grandpa if they wanted to and that they could share them at the tributes. One to happen in South Bend and one to happen in Raymond. I wrote these poems believing that I wouldn’t have to share them but found out just over a week ago that Friday I will be sharing these poems with friends and family and reading them myself. Bummer. Oh well, them’s the breaks :).

Joy, Laughter and Grief

A Poem by Tammy Rae Waggoner

In honor of my Grandfather Fred Waggoner


An emotion no one likes to feel

One that can be accompanied by so many more

Like depression and despair

Unfortunately in order to get out of grief

You have to get through it 

And the only way to get through it

Is to feel it

Feel the sadness and the loss 

Feel the regret and the pain

Feel the loss of what’s to come

And know it will never be the same again

But once you get through the grief you can get some of the


Is awesome

It can help you get out of grief

It can turn any bad day into a good one

It can turn a frown upside down
It’s something I seek

It’s also something I try to give

Mine is loud and rambunctious

And I never try to quiet or silence it

Given enough laughter can bring you to great unspeakable

If laughter is awesome joy is stupendous

It’s the great fulfillment of feeling the grief 

It’s the present you get for dealing with the difficult things

It can be brought about by a baby’s laughter

Or a beautiful sunset

Or an amazing book

Or an amazing conversation with someone you love

It’s somewhat indescribable

It is beyond happy

It is beyond mirth and laughter

It’s the skies parting, the sun shining, best feeling in the world

It is the gift from God that keeps you going when you encounter grief



The Real Story Behind the Man

A Poem by Tammy Rae Waggoner

In honor of my grandfather Fred Waggoner


I’ve only ever had one grandpa

I’ve had three fabulous grandmas

Now they are all gone

And I grieve their loss


My grandpa was far from perfect

He was a sinner, who was saved by grace

He was also a hoarder, with many properties to fill

While living he and Grandma Vi filled many homes
With all their crap

And because grandpa was a hoarder when grandma passed he kept it all

He even used to keep stuff that his tenants left behind


When grandpa visited for my sister’s wedding June 2013

I had a conversation with grandpa and his girlfriend Annabelle about his hoarding

I tried to convince him it was okay to throw stuff out 

But I don’t think it took


Grandpa was more than his hoarding ways
He was a lover

He loved to give love in a textile way

He loved to hold hands, give hugs and kisses

I never really noticed this until Vi was gone

I realized that she took most of that

So that when she was no longer with us

He saved it for the times he was with family

So that he could give it to his kids, grandkids and great kids


Grandpa loved with great feeling and with great compassion and with great unconditional-ness

A few years ago I shared a difficult story with him

Something from my past that rocked me

And all he gave as I told him was love

All he gave was strength and compassion

And support, he told me who in the family I could share with

And how much he loved me


I remember our last conversation on the phone, one I didn’t think would be the last

He called me by my sister’s name

And asked me questions about my sisters

We shared joy about another family gathering in the future

And I laughed with him about his getting some of the information wrong

He told me he was “getting older” and when that happens you forget things

We joked and laughed and ended the call with “I love you”


Grandpa had flaws like we all do, but he had great love

Love he freely shared

He was loved by many and will be missed by more

Love you grandpa, good-bye


This week will be a difficult one, finally saying good-bye to grandpa but also a good one to see family and to share laughter, stories, and memories of good times. 

If you think of my family this week, say a little prayer as we say good-bye to a grandpa, a dad, and a friend. 


So that he 








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