12 May 2016

Papa's Grace

Papa's Grace

The drone of the bagpipes was unbearable...
My heart was ripped to shreds at the sound of it.
How could it be that you are gone,
And we are now hearing the pipes in your honor?
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound".....sweet?
It was the mark of death, the death of you,
And of thousands of our forefathers before you.
"That saved a wretch like me"...saved me from what?
The eerie cry of the pipes tears into my heart,
Making me cry those tears that I don't want to cry
Because I don't want you to be gone.
The family still needs you here, *I* still need you!
It is done, you're in the ground, and the dirt is thrown over you...
But it is not finished in my heart.
Every time the wind carries the sound of the pipes to my ears,
Every time I hear that song, I think of you, and the tears start anew...

On 12 May 1987, a very important man in my life died. He wasn't my father or grandfather. He was Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr., the father of my husband. He meant the world to me and he loved me, too. Neither of us were perfect and there were times that we angered each other. But even more often, we made each other laugh.

I called him "Papa Bruce" as he was to be one of the grandfathers of our children. We had planned a dozen or so; he lived to see one be born to carry on his name.

Papa Bruce was only 52 years old when he died, much, much too young. He was my father-in-law on this side of Heaven for just over 2 years. It has been 29 years since we lost him and still it brings tears to my eyes to think of him. We miss him terribly. This poem was an expression of my grief at such a great loss.

David has also written a tribute to his daddy. You can read it here: In Loving Memory of Papa Bruce.

Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr., 1935-1987 Photo taken 3 November 1984.


  1. Such a beautiful and moving tribute, it's clear that you loved him dearly and he knows!

    1. Thank you. Yes, I loved him dearly and still do. He was a great father-in-law. While I know it would be unfair to call him back from Heaven, I sure wish that I could hug him and my own daddy at least one more time.

      Have a blessed week!


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