Remembering the Josephs, honoring father and son

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I see trees of green

Red roses too

I see them bloom

For me and you

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue

And clouds of white

The bright blessed day

The dark sacred night

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

There’s a tragic beauty to the father and son spending their last moments on earth together. Everything about it, from the fact they were on their way to see their former high school football team play to the fact that son was driving like his father in the seat next to him had shown him how to do a few short years before.

Sr. taught Jr. everything he knew, giving him his name, his talent, his passion, every great characteristic he had right down to his big bright smile.

They did everything together, or at the least, everything the same, just 25 years apart. Both were christened Keith Joseph at birth and each went on to graduate from Pascagoula High School, stars of the football team destined for greatness. From there, father and son both made the decision to join the Mississippi State football program, becoming members of a proud defensive unit. Where elder had already completed a career, youth was just beginning his own.

Sr. mapped the road; Jr. followed the path beaten so many years before, father behind son the whole way through.

As much as it seems unfair they had so little time together, the fact they had so much time together was the greatest fortune of either of their lives. It’s difficult to see someone’s time in this world end so early, and old or young, all lives are taken too soon to those they leave behind.

But those we love never truly leave us. The light from Keith Sr. and Keith Jr., each as bright as the other, shines so long as their memory lasts. Their impact on those around them ensures that neither will be forgotten, and neither ever really gone.

Families of the blood, football and spiritual types have lost a piece and grown stronger at the same time, a bond that can never be broken as each member shares the grief of the departed.

They were many things to many people; a husband, a father, a brother, a teammate, a friend and even a hero. Their lives alternated between being faces in the crowd and moments on the center stage, one watching the other or both being watched by many. Their influences were wide and great, cheering on their friends and family as passionately as all had cheered them on before.

The colors of the rainbow

So pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces

Of people going by

I see friends shaking hands

Saying, “How do you do?”

They’re really saying

“I love you”

 It’s nearly impossible to rationalize. The two should have had far more time together. They should have had far more time with everyone they knew and the people they would have eventually met. On the way to see their old team play, they should have made it to the game together. Junior should have been on football fields for years to come, Senior watching and cheering him on with the rest of the crowds.

Nothing about the ending of their lives is fair. But everything about the lives they had together is good and right.

They can never be replaced, and no one would try to do so, anyway. The loss in the physical life is replaced in guardian angels, in cherished memories and in lifelong reminders to live life the way the Joseph men did, with passion and integrity, laughter and commitment.

Like teams in a game, our loss is their gain, father and son leaving this world for the next together, the way they were always meant to.

I hear babies cry

I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more

Than I’ll ever know

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself

What a wonderful world.

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3 Responses to Remembering the Josephs, honoring father and son

  1. buttonso says:

    My heart breaks for the Joseph family because they are part of our family, the Mississippi State family. It is indeed a tragic loss because both were taken too soon, both Keith Jr. and Sr. Keith Jr. had so much promise to look forward to at only age 18, and I know his dad, Keith Sr. must have been looking so forward to watching him play for the Bulldawgs just as he had done years before. My sincere prayers and thoughts go to this family, and may God comfort and be with them in the days ahead.

  2. REVDAWGTUMC says:

    To whomever authored these words, thank you for one of the most authentic statements I have ever read regarding the mixture of sorrow and joy in such tragic circumstances as these. In its own way it is a statement of faith and an encouraging word to any who read it. I join with the many who are praying for the Joseph family and for our MSU family.

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