****To my Mom, you might not want to read this post yet. I love you very much.****
We had a lovely trip to California. The drive is a long one, but we enjoy road trips for the most part. It was great seeing many of our friends and family, however the trip was bittersweet. My Papa had been sick for many, many years. Each year that we would make the trip back home I would wonder if I would ever see him this side of heaven again. We had only been there a few days, when we learned that the doctor had ordered hospice care for my beloved Grandpa. We were in the Dollar Store when my mom received the call from my aunt informing her of this, and I will never forget looking up and seeing my sweet mom’s expression. It will be forever etched in my memory. I am so thankful that we were able to spend many happy hours with Papa while we were there. Although he was bedridden, he seemed in good spirits. We gathered around his bedside and shared memories and watched football. Kristen spent quite a bit of time just holding this dear man’s hand.
My Papa was determined to live long enough to see the rest of this football season…to see his 49ers win the Superbowl. But, after we left he deteriorated quickly. On Tuesday, December 6th my sweet Papa went home to Jesus. Even though our family is thankful that he is no longer suffering, we have been devastated. He was one of the kindest men I’ve ever known. Very few things in my life have been constant, but he was one of the greatest. He was a rock in my life, someone I always felt would be there, someone who would always love and support me. Not having him here is so very difficult. It is as if a piece of my heart is gone. I am so grateful to know that I will see him again. I once heard someone say that one of the greatest gifts you can give your children or grandchildren is the knowledge that they will see you again, and it is so true. My Papa was not a church-going man, but he lived out his faith in so many ways – from the way he treated his family and the dedication he showed us all. Once we knew it wouldn’t be long, my sister discussed with him his relationship with God and Papa reassured us that he knew where his hope lied. I can only imagine what Papa is doing right now. I imagine that he is planting tomatoes (because no one has ever grown tomatoes like him), playing football, and holding my precious babies that we have lost through miscarriage. My Papa has always been a big softy for babies. I am the oldest grandchild and have many younger cousins. Whenever a new baby would be added to the family, everyone else would be invisible while that baby was around. He would sit and talk to that precious addition for so long, always asking if they wanted a chicken leg to eat :). I can remember being jealous, until I added my babies to the mix and then I could show my Papa my little angels.
This picture (above) is when Papa first met Kaitlyn.
And the picture below is when he held his first great-grandchild, Allie, for the first time.
He left work early and drove over 30 minutes just to meet her.
There are so many things, so many memories, that I would like to share but the words won’t come…only the raw emotion. I have been blessed with a family that is close, that loves and shares each others lives. My wonderful family is taking turns spending the night with my grandma, so that she is not alone. Oh how I wish I could help. It is during the times of celebration and also those times of sorrow that I most hate being away from my family. To not be able to attend Papa’s services has been some of the most difficult experiences I’ve had, to not have my family to hug and lean on… All I can do is trust that God’s plan is good, because I don’t see it right now.
I’m sorry that this post has probably been scatter-brained. It is hard to put coherent thought into this…I just needed to express my grief someway. I love you, Papa…until we meet again.