To the man who didn’t have to be my grandfather.

I have been struggling to find the right words to describe my feelings about losing my Papa Nohow. For those of you who don’t know, the NOHOW comes from flipping and reversing his actual last name, MOHON. Nohow is also fitting because my papa was a man with the “know-how” to get any job set in front of him done. His hard work was prevalent in his home,  the impact he left on those who met him and his community, and in the type of people he raised his children to be.

I am lucky enough to be the daughter of one of those children, my Mama Summer. Technically, I am her step-daughter, but that is only a title I bear when explaining our family dynamic to new friends. Besides the sadness that I feel towards losing Papa Nohow, the strongest emotion I feel is gratitude. He didn’t have to let me spend hours on his four-wheeler, or let me drive his tractor. We didn’t have to spend Christmas’s together or family reunions. Thankfully, Papa Nohow was not the kind of man to let the word “step” get in the way of me and my siblings creating memories with him.

Not only am I grateful for the time I spend with papa, but also for the parts of himself he passed down to my Mama Summer that helped make her the bonus mom I needed her to be. As we laid papa to rest, there was a common theme of servitude. As fire chief, school board member, and church volunteer, my papa was no stranger to selfless service. After yesterday, there is not a doubt in my mind that a servant’s heart is contagious. I am grateful that Mama Summer has nurtured this quality of my papa in me. If I am being honest though, I probably got some of my stubbornness from them, as well.

More than anything, though, I owe a part my relationship with Christ as it is today to Papa Nohow. Though I have been blessed with many spiritual leaders in my life, Mama Summer is the one the keeps me accountable. When I start to stray or become overwhelmed, she is the one to redirect me to follow God’s path. She would not have the strength to play this role in my spiritual journey if it were not for Papa Nohow instilling that foundation in her’s.

If I could say one last thing to my Papa Nohow, it would just be thank you. I’d thank him for giving me my Mama Summer. I’d thank him for loving and accepting my family. I’d thank him for all the blessings I have through the way he led his life. Lastly, I’d thank him for being the grandpa that he didn’t have to be.

4 thoughts on “To the man who didn’t have to be my grandfather.”

  1. The title of this post was inspired by the song “He didn’t have to be” by Brad Paisley. Though, unlike the song, both my biological parents played an active role in my life, listening to this song in my youth helped shaped my perspective and appreciation for all the bonus family in my life. It’s definitely worth a listen, if you find yourself in a similar family dynamic.


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