Wednesday morning we were able to check Jack out of rehab. Micah picked him up and had him home and getting dressed before 9AM. We then drove two hours to say goodbye to his Dad. We took two cars, so we could take a wheelchair if we needed it. (We didn't) Our doctor friend flew in and rode with us. Not because we needed a doctor but because he had played for and loved Jack’s Dad. It did make me feel better to have a doctor on board. Roger, you keep walking this road with us. Thank you.
We arrived at a full to overflowing church full of coaches, players and friends of a man that was loved by so many. There were enough Rip Powell stories to fill a book. As we arrived and moved into a little room, one man after another, many of Jack’s oldest friends in coaching and in life, made their way in to hug him. So before we ever walked into the church, we were all a mess. Right before we walked down that church aisle, Jack told me he was not sure if he could speak, he would just decide when it was his time. My stomach was in the biggest knot ever. I knew how much he wanted to. I knew how hard it was going to be. He had told me over and over this was a speech he had been writing for 50 years. That’s a long time to prepare. Greg was ready to speak for him, but I knew how much he wanted to do it himself. When the pastor called on him, he stood up, walked up the steps, no wheelchair, no walker, no cane, just pre-stroke mode and as Greg walked behind him, I knew he was going to be able to say THANKS to the man that gave a young boy a home, a name and a life. As he began to speak his voice got stronger and stronger, Greg stepped back, and he shared his heart as well as I have ever seen it done. I am almost positive there was not one dry eye in the church. These were the kids FB posts that night…
Greg…To My Father...as a son, I had the great privilege of watching my dad pay tribute to his idol and role model, his Dad. I have never been more proud to be Jack Powell's son. He told me a few days ago that he has known since he was a teenager the he would speak at his Dad's funeral. He was wonderful!!!
Amanda Happy birthday to my sweet daddy! I am so blessed to have him here today! I can't even put into words how proud I am am to be his daughter. Yesterday was probably one of the hardest days of his life and he handled it like a champ. I know Rip was looking down from heaven smiling.
Something happened when he finished. People clapped. Strange for a funeral but so right for this occasion. He had honored a man than had made many boys into men. But this boy he had given a new life, a place to call home, a name to be proud of.
Jack had a supernatural strength the entire day, He was able to walk with no help, go to the burial, visit with friends, even go out to eat on the way home. This was his first time to be out of the hospital in almost five weeks.
Terri and I had reworked our schedule early last week and it left me with three days off the first of this week. That had to be God. This is a year that I have known I could not get behind. In years past if I did, we just worked longer days. I know that I don’t have the physical energy to do that this year.
Yesterday was Jack’s birthday. A birthday a month ago we were not sure he would see. I sent out an email a week or so ago and ask former players, coaches, family and friends to send an email to him that would encourage him. Then Rip died and I was really not even thinking about the emails. In three days I think over 60 cards came in the mail and almost 100 emails. WOW….if you sent one, you will never know how much it meant. A friend put them all in a binder for me and I wrapped it, knowing it was going to be a very emotional but wonderful gift. It was. We had a small family surprise birthday party for Jack at the rehab. It was almost too much for one week.
The first card he read was and I can hardly type this, a beautifully hand written, heart felt card…filling up both sides of the card, from the lady doctor we had at Baylor. The one that became family to our family in a day where that does not happen often. Dr. Elizabeth Rice-De, you make your profession look good, but more than that you say to your patients that they matter. I know that Jack could hardly wait for us to leave last night so he could read each letter and card slowly and then read them again.
Much more has happened this week, but I will save it. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the week
A GIRL AND HER DAD
Jack’s biggest cheerleaders4 LITTLE’S THAT NEED THEIR POP A BOY, A DAD, and HIS GIRL PARKER, JACK and WOODYAustin and Grayson
Be sure and stop by A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING tomorrow. I am posting tree pictures and there will be a GIVEAWAY. Blogging has had to take a back seat for right now, but I hope to be back soon sharing lots of Christmas pictures. We start our “don’t look up” schedule on Sunday, where there is no day off for a long time. There is a good chance that when I post again, Jack will be home where he belongs.