Sunday, March 9, 2014

Days like today....

Days like today remind me of him... his sweet smile and sweet spirit. These were the kind of days when we would spend all afternoon sitting outside on his patio, popsicles in hand, feeling the breeze, talking about life, watching the animals and occasionally the neighborhood kids..... moving the remote control awning in and out depending on wind and sun position (he had it all figured out) .....the occasional "cat nap" could happen if either one of us were in the comfy reclining chair,  it was usually him.  It's simple days like today that I miss him the most. He was more than just my grandfather he was one amazingly smart, strong, loyal, selfless, gentle, loving and kind man.

Yesterday it was 70 and sunny in middle Tennessee and we (Grama, Chip, & myself) sat on his patio. It was the first time I had been there since he left us. I couldn't help but feel like something was missing. I have a feeling my sweet grandmother feels that way all of the time. We listened to the wind chimes, enjoyed the sun shine, light breeze, small talk and each others company. It was nice....... although it will never be the same.


I haven't written a post since the day of my grandfather's funeral (8/7/13), in a way it seems like yesterday, however the calendar tells me it was 7 months ago. It's hard for me to even comprehend that. I have a lot of catching up to do....a lot has happened in the last 7 months.....today I will just start with a story, a story that will set the precedence of posts to come, the following in parts is a conversation that took place the last time I sat on the patio with my grandfather, which was also the Sunday before he passed away......


Lets set the tone.... my 80 yr old grandfather whom I was extremely close to had severe emphysema/asthma he was on oxygen but he would lose his breath just walking across the room, however an oxygen level of 60% wasn't going to keep him down, he lived with the end stage of this disease at home independently months longer then the average patient.... he was a fighter.

It was hard for everyone to watch him gasping for air. It was hard for him not to be up and "doing" he was always Mr. handyman and cook, and everything else for that matter.


Sunday July 28th.......

A beautiful summer day in middle Tennessee. It was cool enough to sit outside (in the shade) in the middle of the day..... and that's what we did. We started off sitting in the garage (with the door open of course) we sat in lawn chairs, ate popsicles.....orange for me red for him, he ate his and half of mine.... that was our usual. He enjoyed sitting in the garage because he could see and greet all of the neighbors as the entered the neighborhood pool across the street. He was the "pool monitor" for several summers and in general a people person.....never meeting a stranger. As we sat in the garage that day we talked about work, he asked me about the birthday party I had been to the night before and we talked about the new baby that one of my best friends had the week before I even showed him a couple of pictures...... One thing everyone new about my grandfather was that children and animals gravitated to him,...... maybe it was because he was always handing out treats, or because he had an extremely gentle kind spirit, or maybe because he was always smiling, whatever the reason, everyone loved him! We sat there talking for quite a while that day..... he asked me about "this boy" I had been talking to..... (this is before Chip and I had gone out on our first date....however it was only a matter of time, I believe I canceled 3 or 4 times on Chip because my grandfather was in and out of the hospital). So, I told my grandfather about Chip, how I met him, what he did for a living, how handsome he was, you know, typical conversation. ..... the next thing that happened broke my heart and to this day still brings tears to my eyes....


..... my grandfather grabbed my hand and said " you know sweetie, you only have enough room in your life for one man and you have given up your "life" to help take care of me. You're young you should be out there with your friends and going on dates and I know and Grama knows too that you have sacrificed a lot for us but I am going to go soon,  <right here I interrupt him and say STOP saying that>, he continues, well it's true I am going to go and then you will have room for another man."







July 29th

The next day, Monday (he went into the hospital on Thursday (7/31) for the last time).... He called me on my way home from work, this was a bit unusual just because it was so early in the day ....typically we talked around 7-8 every night, if I wasn't at their house....

This particular conversation started out with him asking me if I was home.... and I wasn't I was driving home or sitting in traffic rather.... I asked him if he was okay and he was, he told me to call him when I got home and I did. This was a conversation I will never forget.... he told me he had a dream the night before and he wanted to tell me about it.... so I said 'okay??'

He said "I had a dream about you and I know when I leave you will be okay (of course I chime in with the stop talking like that). He said I am not worried about muma (grama) she will have plenty of people to take care of her but I do worry about my little "tweety bird" (me) you always take care of everyone else but now I know you will have someone to take care of you ..... (of course at this point I am nearly shaking and in tears and of course telling him to stop talking like that.) I eventually asked him who was going to take care of me and he said that boy you are dating ...... I said 'well I'm not dating anyone Papa'. He left it with the right one is coming along sweetie. That was a very bitter sweet conversation...... Of course at that point I wasn't thinking too much into it. Later that week my grandfather was in the hospital he knew that I was suppose to go on my first date a few days later with Chip. One of the last conversations I had with my grandfather on that Sunday afternoon (8/4) was him waking up from a nap and with my Grama at his bedside and me sitting in the chair at the foot of his bed..... he woke up and  I said 'close your eyes and rest Papa' he said to my Grama " look at her she's just so sweet, I just cant stop looking at you because you have such a kind heart ........and don't cancel your date because I am in the hospital." (yeah right..... I canceled again) .....little did I know hours after that conversation my grandfather would end his journey on earth and begin his life in Heaven (8/5/14)...  even though at that time Chip and I still had not been on a date he was still there for me encouraging me and praying for me every step along the way.

 .... I moved back to Murfreesboro in February of 2011 after living out of state on and off for nearly 9 months.  When I returned it was a very hard time for me emotionally and Grandpa was my encourager and comedian! Shortly after I returned my grandfather's health started on a slow downward spiral. One of the reasons I went into nursing was to help take care of my family when they were sick, I don't think for one second the circumstances that happened in my life were by chance or mistake, I believe God had this greater plan all along. I was there to take care of my grandfather until the day he died.

After he passed, I and I think most of my close friends and family thought I would be a mess, devastated, depressed, and to my surprise...I had this odd sense of peace, I was sad I missed my favorite person, but I was relieved that he wasn't suffering any more. I kept thinking after the shock finally wears off I will have my "emotional meltdown" seven months later I'm not sure it's going to happen! I miss him every day. Many of the wonderful characteristics my grandfather had I now in a different way see them through Chip. He is loving, thoughtful, encouraging, selfless, gentle, kind, he makes me laugh and he makes sure I am taken care of. I am blessed &  thankful.....



Oh,  we did finally go on our first date.... 8/10/14 ;)









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