(Alternately Titled, "My chains are gone, i've been set free")
If you hadn't heard, our family lost 2 very precious souls last week. My great uncle (Doodle" was his nickname) became very sick and requested he be taken to the same hospital my papaw was already sent to the day before. My papaw had taken an experiemental chemo drug that upset his body and sent him to the emergency room Friday early morning at about 1:30am. Doodle, shortly followed. Doodle died Sunday, and Papaw passed Monday at 7:30pm. Neither knew the severity of each other's sickness. We know that God took them together for a reason. Papaw promised his mother that he would take care of his brother until the end, and that he most certainly did. They stormed the gates of Heaven together and are now resting peacefully in a much more beautiful, pain free, peaceful place that I can only dream about. I know I will see them one day again, but it just really hurts right now.
I was able to fly in on Monday late morning/early afternoon to be with him until he passed. We were all with him, praying over him until the very end and I held his hand until he went to be with Grandmother again. I will never forget the feeling of his hand in mine, and how warm and strong it felt. Those of you who never knew my papaw, never knew how much of a fighter he was and why this is such a shock to us all. He had been very sick before and always pulled through stronger than an ox. We knew he was sick, but didn't know how sick he really was...we were all expecting him to pull through this, after all it was just a little chemo drug, flush it out and he'll be fine right? We all thought that for awhile, but it was clear that that wasn't going to happen after we talked to the doctors. We learned that his lungs were full of tumors and he had little breathing capacity left, though i've never seen someone's heart beat as strongly as my papaw's. It was like a machine and stayed that way until the very end.
I am just so SHOCKED. How could this happen? Is this real?! Someone pinch me!
I sat and looked at him after his life on earth was over and he was peaceful and could only see the papaw that I always visited during the summer; hot, sweaty, shirtless and tanned as he came in from the garden working in it all day.
"Slick, you don't want to hug me, i'm all sweaty" I can hear him say that just like it was yesterday.
He called everyone slick.
The papaw I was looking at in the hospital was not the papaw I remember so strong and full of life. I still can't believe it.
We are all left with memories that no one will ever take away from us...
Here are some pictures of papaw last October when he took us all to the beach...
We loved climbing in this tree when we were little. We came back to it last October with Papaw.
Every year for as long as I can remember during the fall grandmother and papaw would rent a beach house in Kure Beach, in Wilmington, NC for a couple of months, and we would all visit him for a week or so coming and going. I remember grandmother staying up all night playing canasta, or scrabble. Anyway, when grandmother became sick we stopped going, and hadn't gone since. Last year, papaw started the tradition back up and he took us all to the same beach (though different beach house) and took us to all the same places we went when we were little. I always loved going to the aquarium, and looking for purple sea shells on the beaches. Papaw always took me. Here are some pictures of that trip...
Last October papaw took us to a beach house in Wilmington, NC for about a month. I was only able to make it down one weekend, but we had so much fun. He was so precious and took us back to the old places we loved to go when we were little. Little did we all know it would be our last beach trip together, how I will forever cherish these pictures.
None of the doctors could believe papaw was still living alone. Little did they know. He still took care of his garden this summer (though it didn't look as spiffy as previous years) and took care of his yard just how grandmother would have wanted it.
Grandmother loved her fish ponds, and when she died papaw kept the flowers and the garden just how she loved them, her fish pond included. The doctors couldn't believe how much papaw did on his own, in his condition. If they only knew how strong my papaw was, they would understand he was one heck of a fighter!
The swing we used to play on when we were little. Grandmother had 4 put in just for us. 2 for the big kids, and 2 for the little kids.
Papaw's delicious tomatoes.
Papaw grew, tomatoes, squash, and cantaloupe. Here is my aunt with one of the cantaloupes.
A double funeral...
My precious papaw.
"Amazing Grace" Bagpipe style. If you weren't crying before the song, the bagpipes would get to you eventually.
"Lord bring us something beautiful in all this suffering"
Despite all of the sadness we were able to become closer as a family and enjoy our time spent together despite everything..
After the funeral, we went to look through the empty house...
Going home was some nice 'medicine' for homesickness and Daddy took me 4-wheelin' while I was there, it was great fun. We also went down to a creek just below our house and found a 'hole' that was deep enough, and we went fishing. I hadn't done this since I was 8 or 9 and it was so fun, we caught 2 in less than 15 minutes. They were very small, but it was still fun.
Before Tiffany and I had to head back home, we decided to go out to dinner, all 9 of us, which hasn't happened for quite some years, and it was so very fun and food for the soul. (The food was good too) :) Heather celebrated her birthday earlier that week (on the 17th) so we decided to surprise her with a birthday song, mexican style. It was hilarious, and here is the video.
All that said...I know I will see all my loved ones again one day, but I can't help but to miss Papaw and Grandmother until then, but am happy that they are happy together again, pain free, and cancer free with our Savior. I know once I get there papaw will be there to meet me and I can hear him now: "Slick, let me show you my garden" and it will be so beautiful. I how I miss you Papaw and Grandmother.