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August 30, 2006

I travelled to Nashville on Saturday morning in preparation to fly to Denver the next day on business. But, as things turned out, I never took that 8 a.m. flight to Denver.

My Grandfather on my Mom's side, Evert Loyd Blaylock, 85, passed away at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 27. He had been suffering from leukemia for the past few months, bedridden and unable to do any of the things he liked to do.

When something like this happens, and a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness (when a bone marrow transplant is impossible, that's what leukemia becomes), the grieving process begins while that person is still alive. But, even with months of pre-grieving stored up, his passing was a difficult thing.

I was always close with my Granddaddy Blaylock. I beared a striking resemblence to him, and we shared an affinity for many similar things (particularly writing.) He never, ever, EVER doubted my ability to do anything. I'll never forget that.

Lou Pickney with Granddaddy & Grandmama Blaylock
This picture is from my Grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary in November 2003.

It was difficult to write his obituary for The Tennessean, but it proved even more challenging to give a eulogy at his funeral. I pulled it off without losing my composure, but it was easily the most difficult speech that I've even presented. Many people went out of their way to tell me how much they appreciated what I said, which was nice. One even asked me if I had written it or if I had copied it from somewhere else. I wasn't sure if I should be appreciative or slightly insulted that someone might think that I'd use a canned eulogy for someone whose loss his home so powerfully. But I'm sure it was meant with the best of intentions, and ultimately this was about my Granddaddy, not me. I tried my best to deliver up to his standards.

The outpouring of support was wonderful to see (and greatly appreciated), both in Nashville and in Harriman. It was obvious that he had a positive impact on the lives of many people.

Granddaddy had several friends pass away through the years, and I remember asking him a few years ago if it ever got any easier. No, he replied, it doesn't. And certainly this proved just as painful as the passing of my other Grandfather in 1995, Grandpa Pickney, the man after whom I was named (Charles Louis Pickney, Sr.)

Tomorrow I head back to work and life moves on again, however painful it might be. But the memory of Granddaddy Blaylock will live on in me.

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