Anderson, Ala. – I never imagined how quickly the years would go by after what was the most difficult moment of my young life, but here we are, almost two decades later…
The weekend before granddaddy passed away, I had driven up from Tuscaloosa to visit. During my visit, granddaddy talked about his friends Hiram Hutto and Billy Lovell coming to see him. I don’t recall much more about our visit except that when it was time for me to leave we exchanged the words, “I love you”. I had been a student in Tuscaloosa for the past semester, trying to live out my dream of being a placekicker for the Crimson Tide.
As the school year progressed, granddaddy’s health continued to decline. During his illness, dialysis became necessary. At the end of the first semester, I told granddaddy that I was going to leave the University and come home. He wouldn’t allow it. He told me that I was going to finish the school year. On January 14th, I received the inevitable call. Grandmother said, “Your granddaddy doesn’t have much longer.” Feeling that I wouldn’t have time to get back home before he passed, I called our friend, Tim Sutton, who had expressed interest in seeing granddaddy. I told him that if he wanted to see him, he needed to go ahead and go. To this day, I take comfort in the fact that Tim was able to see granddaddy and speak to him. By the time I made it home to Anderson, granddaddy was in a comatose type state. I sat by his side through the night of the 14th and into the morning of the 15th. It was only a matter of time. Later in the afternoon, as more family arrived, I went into the living room. I watched the grandfather clock which granddaddy had put together. I heard cries coming from his room. The clock read 1:15 pm. Granddaddy’s physical life ended on Thursday, January 15th, 1998. I had never felt so much pain in my life. At that moment, there was no way to make it go away.
Over the years, since granddaddy’s passing, many people have expressed their love of granddaddy. Many of the stories that friends share with me come from a long time before I was in the picture. Through his work as a preacher and Dean of Student Services at Calhoun Community College, I know granddaddy meant a great deal to so many and I appreciate that. His life’s work was sharing the Gospel. His teaching style has been described as plain and simple. His goal was to help others understand the Bible and lead them to the Truth. In his years of preaching, he worked with several congregations. Among those were the church at Ramer (outside of Montgomery), Lafayette, Georgia, ACIPCO in Birmingham, Saraland in (Mobile) Alabama, Valley View near Athens, Old Moulton Road church in Decatur, Jackson Drive in Athens, Alabama, Sun Valley in Center Point, Alabama, Hueytown church of Christ Hueytown, Alabama, and New Georgia church of Christ in Anderson, Alabama. At New Georgia, granddaddy continued to preach until he physically could do it no longer. Through granddaddy’s work as Gospel preacher, I had the privilege of meeting many wonderful people and develop lifelong friendships along the way.
I can’t help but think about how he became my granddaddy and how I became his grandson. I think about a little baby named Lynn Douglas Headrick being born to Orville Bruce and Minnie Sue Goodloe Headrick on a farm between Red Oak and Ferris, Texas, in May 1928 and how that Texas boy grew into a young man who would move to Nashville to study at David Lipscomb and eventually take a teaching job Alabama Christian College (Faulkner) and meet Mary Faye Hall and they’d get married. I think about that couple wanting to have children of their own and choosing to adopt three children in May of 1958. Because of circumstances, I was blessed to be raised in the home of Lynn and Mary Faye Headrick. I was taught to call them grandparents, but they were so much more.
I had granddaddy almost 19 years of my life, now he’s been gone for 19 years. Nineteen more years will come and go and you or I may or may not still be here. One thing I do know is that life is a vapor. Those you love are here one day and gone the next. Death is a reoccurring theme of life for all of us. Love on those you still have with you. Let them know you love them. You’ll either look back on 19 years fondly or you’ll look back on 19 years with regret and say, “I wish I could…”. There will come a day when you can’t. Do it while you can. You won’t regret that. You can mark it down.
Below are three tracts that granddaddy wrote. The tracts were originally only available in paper form until Spiritual Service Supply converted them into digital format.