August 06, 2015 - Was our first physical encounter

June 13, 2019 - Was your physical last.

This day is truly a remarkable day , because from here on out -- today will mark the day that James Headd Sr. ( a father, husband, grandfather , pastor and friend ) will join his father in heaven.

Up until the age of 15 , I lived my life believing that God had blessed me with one amazing older sister and one annoyingly lovely younger brother.

At 15, On a solemn night I met for the first time ever, another older sister -- who had no previous knowings of her two younger siblings until that day.

We sat across from one another wide eyed and confused.

Questioning the obvious while spectating somber faces with rendered truths. How on earth did we get here?

That was the question at hand.

Above all, the task was not to question but to accept and progress , which is what we did.

From here on out me and my sister began to build a bond that only we could share. Often, we'd send massive texts to vent, calls to cry, snaps to laugh and meet-ups to chat and figure out new hairstyles she could try on me. At this point I wasn't just elated but I was grateful.

Grateful that God had placed someone in my life who is so seemingly similar to me it's sort of weird.

A few years later I met for the very first time "our" grandfather.

I remember the day like it was just yesterday. It was shortly before I left for college and I was super nervous to meet him. I had heard that he was a pastor and for some odd reason that made me more nervous than before. I asked my mother if she really believed that he'd like me and my younger brother and what was I to do if he didn't. She assured me that he was going to love us and it was with that, that we went into the cracker barrel restaurant with eager minds and high hopes.

From the minute he lay eyes on my brother and I , he delivered a smile that few can. A smile of pure happiness. He took us in a great big bear hug while his wife reflected a sweet and timid smile. We laughed over diets and food, talked career goals and college, and smiled over new found relationships.

He told us to make sure that we stayed in touch and to always know that he loved us.

From here on out, we managed contact via random phone calls , a group meet up and word of mouth through our big sister. The conversations were always the same.

" Hey Grandad -- It's me Makayla ! "

Oh Hi Makayla , You don't know how good it is to hear from you!"

"You know, us old folk always love it when young people call us just to check on us -- it lets us know you're thinking about us"

"I can't wait until we see each other again , you know I keep a picture of you guys sitting right here at the house and I tell everyone those are my beautiful grand kids" .. and so forth.

Although we rarely got many calls in through the course of the semester, it was the few that always made a lasting impact. After every call I'd call my grandmother to tell her how I talked to my grandfather and he was just so excited!

Today , my sister and I shared yet another lengthy video chat , but instead, this was one to celebrate you. Although your time here is up , your time above has just begun. I want to thank you for reaching out to me when you surely didn't have to. I want to thank you for accepting me and my younger brother and treating us like the grandchildren you would have known since our birth. Surely you have made a significant impact in the life of every one surrounding you including me. Never will I forget your selfless smile, hearty laugh and stern takes on life and God.

I will love you always , Makayla.