FATHERLESS ON FATHER’S DAY

Cherished and adored, two words that remind me of my father. And loved.

Although it’s been three years since Papa passed, there’s still a crater-sized hole in my heart. I don’t think that hole will ever get smaller because Papa loomed so large in my life. Center-stage with Mama, the two of them cheered me on with their love to do and be – whatever, whenever, wherever. Their deep love anchored this red head through good times and turbulent times: always there, a constant port in any storm.

Papa cherished me (& my 4 siblings) through our growing pains in childhood, the onset of adulthood, and as we muddled our way into middle-age-hood. He would say, “you are beautiful!” (With this pimply face & skinny legs, really Papa?)

He pushed us to pursue our dreams. He supported us. He made time for us.

Growing up in a boisterous family with five kids, sometimes it was hard for my younger brother and me to get a word in edge-wise. Papa made space for us to speak through daily ’round table’ dinner discussions. He spent time with us. He took ‘Section B’ (as we’re called, the three oldest = ‘Section A’) on monthly dates for dinner and every Walt Disney movie that came out. (There were many.) When we were a little older it was John Wayne westerns. (There were many of those, too!)

As I grew up these fun outings morphed into more serious encounters – a time set aside to seek his wise counsel and then he listened to me: my worries (even snobbish bratty ones), latest debacles, hopes and dreams (ever changing.)

An important part of cherishing is encouragement. Papa encouraged me to seek, to speak, to do, to be all that I was, and am, meant to be as his beloved daughter and precious daughter of God, our Heavenly Father.

When I moved away from home to work in D.C. and then overseas for many years, Papa & Mama called every week, faxed and emailed (as technology evolved.) They were always there for me. Even when several oceans separated us, I knew they had my back in prayer (their heavenly-hotline buzzing as I dodged bullets, stones, landmines and endured malaria, fractured ankles et all.) 😊

Papa always said, “the will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”

God dished out grace in many ways, in many places. But a big chunk of ‘hang-in-there-grace’ came through Papa and Mama. Despite incredible challenges, their example of faithfulness – to God, to each other, to us, to ministry – inspired me in hard places to pick myself up and keep going.

The will of God has now taken me to this place of being father-less on Father’s Day. I pray for God’s grace to keep me when my heart misses Papa. Lots!

I miss his larger-than-life presence, his love, encouragement, cherishment, the twinkle in his eyes, his sense of humor, his joy (even when as a bedfast quadriplegic he couldn’t move anything.) His zeal for life. His faith in God, and his faith in me.

Cherished.  Adored.  Loved.  All three, a gift from my father to me.

There is a crater-sized hole in my heart and life, but it’s filled with the legacy of Papa’s love: the love of Jesus in and through him to me.

Thank you, Papa!

We miss you!!

A blessed Father’s Day to you fathers out there. Treasure the moments.

Cherish, adore, love: see what your children become.

grace, peace & love legacies

Virginia  : )

Photo: Virginia “imping’ it (with her visiting Papa) on the Lawn as a 1st year student @ The University of Virginia many, many moons ago!

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30 Responses to FATHERLESS ON FATHER’S DAY

  1. Cindy Kranich says:

    Ginny,
    what a beautiful tribute … I miss him today, too!
    ♥️

  2. Clarke Morledge says:

    I first glanced at that photo and thought, yep, that’s early 80’s Charlottesville. You still had red hair back then, too 😉 He, he. This is a sweet remembrance of your dad. My first Fathers Day last year without my dad was pretty rough, this year is easier, but it is still bittersweet.

    • Virginia says:

      Ok Clarke! Be careful, if we did a gray-hair contest methinks you might win (you ARE two years older!) 🙂 Yep, it’s been a few years since your W&L days & my time @ UVA. Know you must be missing your dad, and your mom, too. Hugs to you & Lisa.

  3. Cindy Kranich says:

    P.S. I’ve always loved that photo of the two of you … brings back a flood of joyful memories! 😁

    • Virginia says:

      This pic was taken just before Papa tipped his Amigo over & asked 2 football players passing by to help him up– then proceeded to introduce them to red-faced 1st-year me! Never one to lose an opportunity, our Papa. 🙂 Hugs & more hugs!

  4. Debbie says:

    I almost feel like I knew your Papa, from this lovely tribute! We were blessed to have wonderful dads … and now, an outlet to express ourselves through our writing.

    • Virginia says:

      Your blog about your father touched my heart yesterday. Blessed is the right word, for truly we are blessed to have affirming fathers. Even though we miss them now, their legacies continue in our hearts. Blessings on your book! Keep us posted (i’ve been a ‘silent’ follower of your blog for a long time!)

  5. elvagreen123 says:

    Your Papa had a twinkly face. You’ve written a very nice tribute to him.

    • Virginia says:

      Elva, you inspire me! The way you’ve blogged about your father, the research you’ve done writing & publishing your BOOK about him, has brought his music & acting achievements alive. What a precious legacy & treasure for us all. Huge blessings to you.

  6. Carol-Jo Osinski says:

    I shed a tear reading your writing about your Dad…thank you

    • Virginia says:

      Carol-Jo, we are blessed to have precious memories to treasure now that our fathers have passed. Like my Papa, your father’s legacy lives on — in you, your sister and the many lives he touched. Hugs, hugs, hugs … and more hugs!

  7. We all loved ur mama n papa. We had nice family times at the farm, remember? My dad, Bill Taylor, loved him alot, great friend! God bless you, and all the Woodward family!!! You sure have some beautiful memories!

    • Virginia says:

      Hi Diana – we remember your dad & many fun times at the Taylor farm in Va.Beach. Our dads had a great friendship, what a treasure. God bless YOU and your family. We are grateful to God for those wonderful shared memories @ your farm. Blessings!

  8. John Paine says:

    Very sweet tribute, Virginia. We all miss your dad. He had more spiritual children and grandchildren than anyone I have ever known, and he made time for all of us. He really believed, as he used to say, that “our greatest ability is our availability.” Thanks for this remembrance!

    • Virginia says:

      Amen, John. Thank YOU for the time you shared with him, helping with his blog, computer, and so much more. I will never forget you turning up in that snowstorm with audio CDs a few weeks before he passed – they helped distract him from over-the-top pain. Hugs to you & Miriam!! Looking forward to your next vlog … 🙂

  9. Anni Harry says:

    Such a beautiful reflection and testimony to a father! It sounds like your dad was absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing your memories and lessons taught!

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you, Anni. Your Sunday Best blogs are having an impact: yesterday I changed into a nicer blouse for church & tried to be a bit tidier running out the door. Papa supported my faith journey into the Catholic Church 26 years ago (even though he was an evangelical pastor.) He wanted us to know Jesus & follow Him wherever we were led. His ecumenical ministry impacted many from many denominations, including Catholics. Blessings & hugs!

  10. what a beautiful tribute-I know he was special, it shows up in your writing-Goodness, I can not imagine the sorrow of losing a parent. God bless and keep you-love Michele

    • Virginia says:

      Michele – so glad you had a special time with your father yesterday. Store up these treasured moments into your memory-bank, as they will be like gold one day. Your remembrance of Softly & Tenderly blessed my heart as that hymn was one of Mama & Papa’s favorites. Thank you for your precious blog! Love & hugs!! – Virginia

      • Oh Virginia-how dear you are-I can not imagine losing a parent-I have never beeen able to truly imagine losing anybody, my husband, my grandmother. Jamie was very sick and grandmama was 93! I still could not really understand the loss of either. Thank you darling and I hope you have a storehouse of gold!

  11. TMH says:

    I loved my dad, but would have felt extremely lucky to have had yours as an uncle/neighbor/guy at the store you see every day.

    • Virginia says:

      Mentoring young folks every week kept Papa ‘cool.’ These college-aged young people would say, “Dick Woodward rocks!” He always remembered everyone’s name. Nurses @ the hospital, guys coming in to fix stuff, he didn’t know a stranger. Blessings to you & thanks for your helpful writing tips & links!

  12. arlene says:

    What a lovely tribute to your Papa.

  13. Deep love brings deep grief… but deep and wonderful memories too… Diane

    • Virginia says:

      You are so right, Diane. Deep memories mean a deep legacy – and we are fortunate to have a multitude of good memories. Blessings & hugs to you!

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