A super long post on love, loss, and gratitude.

I’ve wrestled with this post for a few days trying to craft the right message to drive home a point I’m not sure I’m trying to make. I’ve debated posting anything at all because, truly, I just don’t know what to say or how to say it. I don’t do well with this kind of stuff. But then I thought to myself, does anyone ever really do well with this kind of stuff? Is there ever really a point to posting about loss other than to share the heartache of a loved one gone?

The truth is, life really sucks sometimes and you don’t always know how to feel, think, react, or process. Losing someone you love has to be one of life’s most difficult challenges. There’s no guidebook that walks you through how to restore wholeness, completeness, happiness, and/or peace.

Grief is a lonely road you navigate alone desperately searching for someone on the same path as you profusely praying they’ll have the answer to closure and peace. But as you aimlessly search trying to find that said person, you discover you’re actually surrounded by people walking the same lonely path as you… it’s just, we’re all a bunch of broken souls aimlessly walking and searching and grieving in a hundred million different directions searching for different meanings on closure, peace, and understanding. And quite frankly, we’re all just trying to figure out how to live life with the loss.

As many of you have seen through various posts and my sharing of my grandfather’s obituary, we lost my Grandpa Tipton this past Saturday. It doesn’t matter how, when, where, or why. All that matters is that heaven gained another good angel.

I’m not here to falsify a relationship that didn’t exist in order to gain sympathy or feel sorrow in the wake of loss. I wasn’t close to my grandfather and truly never have been. Family dynamics made is difficult I suppose. There are no “good” excuses as to why I never chose to initiate or foster that relationship, but I made peace with my decision and feel no guilt.

My purpose in posting this is to honor my grandfather, not in the wake of his loss, but in the influence of his life. I may not have had the relationship every little girl dreams of having with their grandfather but despite my non-traditional family relationships, my grandfather had a profound impact on my life through the person in this world that means the absolute most to me, my dad.

With loss, there is always a wave of guilt and regret, and my biggest regret is in never sharing my sincere gratitude with my Grandpa Tipton for the influence he’s had on me through my father. That being said, the remainder of this obnoxiously long post is to him.

Grandpa Tipton,

I am incredibly grateful for you because without you, I wouldn’t have the father that I do. My dad, your son, is my rock. My constant. He is a pillar of strength, courage, resilience, and love. My father is one of the most important, imperative, and influential people in my life. My dad chose me and I chose him. We may not have the same blood, but does blood truly define love? My dad and I have an unspoken language of understanding. I turn to him, always. He’s my sounding board for sanity, he’s my ultimate life coach, he pushes me, challenges me, supports me, drives me absolutely crazy, makes me laugh, makes me sad, but more importantly he makes me feel important, worthy, and loved.

I know you know that Tipton isn’t my birthright name, but I want you to know that it’s the greatest gift outside of my son that I thank God for every single day. Tipton is a name I carry proudly that connects me to the people I care about and love the most in this whole entire world. People that are made possible through the life you created in my dad.

Just as I am of the influence of my father, my father is of the influence of you. My dad is the man he is today because of the man you raised him to be. I might not have understood your relationship with my dad or appreciated the way you showed your pride, love, and affection for him, but I know you were proud of him and loved him nonetheless.

I’m incredibly grateful for my dad and my gratitude for him extends through you. You taught my dad a level of strength, grit, and hard work that he has instilled in me. You challenged him to be smart, out smart, and work smart. You taught him to think big, give big, and love big. Your life lessons on work ethic, creativity, never giving up, and supporting those you care about are ingrained in him and ingrained in me. I’ll say you two have never been one for words, but where words fail music speaks. Your love and talent for music carries through my father and carried through to my big brother, another devastating and heart-wrenching loss I struggle with daily. I’m grateful for the music that connected you three because, in some weird and unexplainable way, I feel it connects me, too.

In closing, the loss of you is heavy. You will be missed. But have no doubts while you wait for us in heaven, we’re committed to keeping your legacy alive through the strong life principles you’ve instilled through your life song.

With love,

Courtney Carol Tipton Zeigler

For Ralph W. Tipton’s Obituary, please visit here.