The invitation read:
"He has been a loving son, brother, husband, father and grandfather; academic scholar; record-breaking athlete; vigilant high-school administrator; inspiring weightlifting coach and father-figure to countless young people; dedicated and engaging college professor; diligent colleague; trust-worthy manager; visionary designer & builder; knowledgeable business mentor; brother-in-Christ, compassionate confidant and humorous, faithful friend. He has answered each of our calls of "Willie...", "Jake...", "Brother...", "Uncle...", "Mr. Jacobs...", "Daddy...", "G-Daddy...", and "Honey..." with the ready reply of, "What can I do?"
If there is any noteworthy thing that Willie has said or done, which lingers in your memories, we pray you will join us in honoring him with this living tribute on SAT., AUG. 26TH. On Aug.17th, Willie will be 70 years young; so, let us give him his flowers while he lives and can appreciate them fully!
We look forward to greeting you on Aug. 26th!!! P.S. - SHHHH!!!! IT'S A SURPRISE!!!!!"
-- Gloria, Robin, Karla, Kandice, Brandon, Zachary & Joren
Well, it was almost a complete surprise... You know, until the night before the celebration... My mother and friend Rashell were at my home, in the kitchen preparing some of the food to be served the next evening, when there was a knock at my door. So, I turn and look at my mother and Rashell.
In unison, we all proceed to shake our heads and laugh incredulously, despite knowing who had to be on the other side of the door! I slowly walked to the door. (Yes, I'm going to make you wait a bit because you know you are dead wrong Willie Jacobs!) He knew my mom and Rashell were there preparing (what he repeatedly commented on as being the unusually large amount of food) my mother had been shopping for that week. Therefore, not answering the knock at the door was not an option.
I open the door and ask, "How may I help you?" He smiles impishly and says, "I would like to come in." How could I say no to such a sweet request, so I slowly step to the side to allow his entrance. He waltzes right in, pulls out one of the chairs at my kitchen table and sits down. It was quite clear his intention was to stay and keep us company (as he ultimately said). I too sit back down at my kitchen table, in front of my laptop that has the order of program open. I turn my laptop at an angle where he cannot not view the screen and resume my work -- however, not before I made sure to give him that look to let him know, "Yeah, I see what you just did there."
To which he responds with a laugh and his own look (like), "Little girl please, I've been #winning longer than you've been living! Did you really think you were going to get all of this over on me (even now)?"
Alas, I simply turned my attention to the computer screen. "Okay," I thought to myself, "That round goes to you dad. Well played seasoned saint."
So, Mr. Jacobs remained in his seat, chatting us up as we worked -- preening over his momentary victory. When my mother and Rashell finished their food preparations for the evening, my father got up from his peacock's perch, washed dishes, swept my kitchen floor, packed-up the ladies' vehicles, escorted Rashell to her car, then came back inside to get my mother and escort her back home. Not bad Mr. Jacobs, Not bad.
While [The] Living Tribute Honoring Willie B. Jacobs may not have been a complete surprise, it is fair to say that in the end, our little game of cat-and-mouse was a draw. Although that exact moment was not captured, rest assured, we earned the last point as dad entered the facility and was duly surprised by the crowd of extended family members, high-school and college-classmates, church members and life-long friends! The special tribute video we showed at the opening of the program, has been extended to include photographs and video clips from the party.
How does one honor the living? Well, this is how we did it [*click here to view Willie's tribute video]:
Thank you for joining me for this more lighthearted episode of my [family's] #CaregiverChronicles!
As I must once again gear up in preparation for another major event-- the 2nd Annual "Reframing the Conversation":Life-Planning Event, scheduled for Feb. 24th, we will resume our journey together after the New Year. At that time we will launch a caregiver education series entitled, "9 Realities Caregivers Must Face & Accept." These are the very realities my mother and I have had to face and accept to have more peace in our daily life, to live abundantly even in the midst of life with this challenging disease, and aid our ill loved one in leaving a lasting legacy.
Wishing you abundant peace along your journey,
~ Kandice Jacobs-Armstrong
Photography by: Wendell Charles & Kandice Jacobs-Armstrong
Video Production: Brandon Kolby Jacobs - *Kandice Jacobs Creations, Incorporated does not own the rights to the music or lyrics contained in this video.
Original Poem, Because You Loved Me, by Kandice Jacobs-Armstrong
©2017 by Kandice Jacobs Creations, Incorporated. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated. No portion of the copy, ideas, illustrations, images, recordings or photographs may be copied, transferred, transmitted or otherwise reproduced without the express written consent of Kandice Jacobs-Armstrong, CEO of Kandice Jacobs Creations, Incorporated.