I’d planned to share a different story, maybe next time or not at all. This is the story I am suppose to share with you on the eve of Ned’s birthday.
This picture is the last time he stood between his grandchildren. Little did we know but 21 days after I took this picture, God would call him home.
About two weeks before this picture was taken Ned had been in the hospital and Amy made her “big announcement”. She was getting another tattoo.
Ned’s primary response was directed towards me and Terry, “I can’t believe y’all would let her go and do such a stupid thing and mark herself with a tattoo.”
Terry gently reminded him that Amy was 19 and could make her own decisions and also reminded him that she had worked all summer, “If she wants to spend her hard earned money on a tattoo, let her. It’s her money. I’m not paying for it.”
Ned huffed and frowned. His standard response to anything he didn’t like.
I popped in and said, “I know you don’t like tattoos but at least let her tell you about it. She’s put a lot of thought into it and designed it herself.”
She carefully described the tattoo and its meaning. She told him he had inspired her to draw it. (I’ll share a picture and story at the end). Suffice to say, she had us all in tears and I looked over and saw a tear gently roll down Neds cheek.
His response was something to the effect, “That’s a great sentiment but I still hate tattoos and think they’re stupid!”
No more was mentioned, until the day after she got her tattoo. It was on a Wednesday because he was in the ER. He was miserable and in a lot of pain. They finally got him settled and I said, “Amy got that tattoo.”
I pulled out my phone and said, “Look! It even has your signature.”
He glanced and said “I’ve never signed anything “Nitro”. That is not my signature.”
I explained that the tattoo artist took the letters from his signature to make the name Nitro. In fact, the artist was so gifted he was able to turn an “a” in Neds handwriting to an “o” since there was not “o” in his name.
He still didn’t buy it and wanted to argue but I changed the subject to keep him from getting excited.
The first time he saw the tattoo up close and personal was on October 8 when this picture was taken.
He only looked at the tattoo once and said, “I still hate tattoos and I think people who put them on their bodies are stupid.”
We tried passionately to no avail to get him to let us take a picture of him and Amy with her tattoo. He adamantly refused to look at her tattoo. Saying, “Now, Kelly I’ve already told you that I think people who have tattoos are stupid and you don’t want me to think my granddaughter is stupid do you?”
Our best efforts failed; however, as I look back at this picture I am reminded again of how much effort it took him to stand for those photos that day. I am reminded of how strong he was in his fight against the lung cancer. I am reminded of how determined he was to keep on living. More than that, I am reminded of the genuine and real love he had for his grandchildren. They were the spark in his eye and the spring in his step. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for any of them. All they had to do was call and he was there. Always.
The tattoo and it’s story:
Here is a little something I figured I would share with everyone following this page.
Don’t knock it until you read about it. I designed it myself.
Triangle- Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
My papaw Ned believes in the divine purpose for his life, and trust the Lord through it all.
Daisy- April’s birth month flower, and my Papaw’s birth month.
Flowers to me have always represented the beauty in life, as well as the delicacy of life.
“Nitro”- my Papaw’s nickname for being a stubborn, strong, yet caring man. This is in his handwriting.
My Nitro has been battling lung cancer, as you all know, for a while now. He is still believing in the purpose, and beauty of the life he has been given. I have seen strength in him in a way that I have never seen before.
He is my inspiration to continue to push through the hard times, and always be strong.
Thank you to everyone who has supported, and prayed for my grandparents through all of this.