What a wonderful world it would be if we could all be remembered like this.
Show host Kathie Lee Gifford wore a brave face on the Today show Monday as she paid a faith-filled tribute to her late-husband Frank Gifford, who suddenly died on August 9 due to natural causes.
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,” Kathie began on her first day back.
“I want to thank everybody for your love, and your texts and your tweets. Just the outpouring has been extraordinary,” she said.
“It’s a heck of a way to find out how loved you are. Believe me, my family and I got great strength and comfort from it.”
The usually jovial talk show host held back tears as she told the story of her husband’s private life, and rags-to-riches success. She shared how Frank grew up in a “very different world” during the depression and knew what it was like to be poor.
Gifford said that as a child, Frank’s family would have to eat dog food, and “was grateful to have it.”
She shared that Frank’s childhood was chronicled in his mother’s Bible, where she kept a journal.
Gifford said her husband didn’t have an entitled moment in his life and worked hard for everything he had earned.
“He knew what it was like to be hungry,” she recalled.
“But it made him so grateful. Honestly he’s the most grateful human being I’ve ever, ever known, and that colored everything he did,” she said.
Frank Gifford became a legendary football player and sports commentator, but according to his wife, that’s just a small part of his legacy.
Gifford said it was Frank’s faith that got his family through the tough times when he was young, and it is what kept him going as an adult.
“He strayed from his faith on occasion but his faith never left him,” she said. “His world got smaller as his God got bigger and he’d want you to know that, that he died in complete peace. He knew every sin he committed was forgiven.”
She commented on the fact that her husband died suddenly while getting ready to go to church – just the way he would have wanted it.
“I’m grateful that the Lord took him that way, because the only thing that Frank has ever been afraid of his entire life was being a burden to those he loved,” she said.
“He never wanted to be hooked up to machines. He never wanted to lose his dignity. I thank the Lord for that, for his grace to us as a family, and I pray his grace to all of you as well.”
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