This past week has been one of the toughest of my life. Not only has Matt lost his dad and I a wonderful father-in-law, but my children have lost their Papaw. There are no 3 people on this Earth closer than Matt, Mark, and Papaw. He passed 5 weeks from the time we found out about his cancer and we are going to miss him so terribly much. Matt and his family were so overwhelmed by the outpouring of people who came to mourn our loss. I am not surprised because I knew the type of person Papaw was. He was so many things to so many people. We were told many times what a wonderful funeral it was. That it was the most uplifting service anyone had ever been to. It was truly a celebration of life that represented Papaw well. No one left the service without laughing and crying. With permission I am typing Matt's eulogy that he delivered at the service. It was so hard for him to do but he wanted to honor his dad in this way.
Everybody please bare with me as I am about to do the hardest thing in my life and that is to talk about Ralph Tatum Tyler. Believe it or not he is now singing better than Brother Patton. And oh how he loved to sing.
The name Ralph Tatum was used by his mother. Usually when she thought he was being too hard on me and Mark, or when she had had enough of his picking. And everybody knows how much he loved to pick on people.
When it came to the 2 women he loved in his life, he was called Husband and Brother. Mom and Aunt Lou: I know he did not always show affection towards you two, but he truly loved both of you.
Papaw was used when it came to my 2 children: "Boom Boom" and "Lu Lu". He said one of the most disappointing things about dying was that he would not be able to see them grow up. Well Papaw, you now have the best seat in the house.
Then there were names like Big Ralph, Fat Boy, and King. All of these were shared by numerous friends he had throughout his life. And then there are some nicknames that I cannot share here today that he had.
For 33 years he was called Coach Tyler(he had taught PE and drivers ed at Bossier High). That is an awful long time to be called COACH to have never coached a sport.
Finally there is a name that Ralph Tatum Tyler went by and that was My Dad. These 2 words are the most cherished words that come out of my lips for Mark and myself: My Dad. Over the past week I have been told numerous times that my dad was a man's man. People, you do not know how much that means to me and my brother. He did not say that he loved us much but that was my dad. We knew it through my dad's actions. He told me last week while lying in bed that when he saw me entering the gates of heaven that he'd come running. Well Dad, I will meet you halfway. THANK YOU for raising us the way you did. I hope to turn out half the man that he was. I LOVE YOU.
And on this day I KNOW he made his daddy proud.