Wow.....all I can say is wow! This week was a tough one. Saying goodbye to Granny was hard, but I was not at all prepared for today. As we were driving to the funeral, I got a call from my sister. She was acting weird. She asked where we were? When were we going to be at the church? Who was with me? Was I driving? Finally....I said, "What is going on?" Her reply was unbelievable. She said Papa was found dead in his yard this morning. What? I wasn't hearing her right. I just sat next to him on the couch a few hours ago. He just teased me about how I told everyone I was his favorite. He just told the whole crowd of extended family about how beautiful my family was. He just said he loved me. He can't be dead. He said last night he was planning to live to be a 110. So much for man's plans!
What happened? He had walked to his car and driven down to the end of the road to get his paper as was his morning routine. He had gone back inside. His paper was on the table. Then he had walked back outside. Apparently to get his keys which were on his car seat. His walker was standing beside him on the sidewalk. No trauma. His walker didn't topple. No struggle. Just laying on the grass dead. The first responders say it was probably a heart attack......I'd say a broken heart.
He loved Granny.
He's loved her for over 67 years. She was his world. I never heard them argue. I'm sure they did.....but that was not the tone of their relationship. They went through some dark days. They lost a son. They lost two grandchildren. They had financial hardships. They moved from everything and everyone they knew and cobbled together a life, a home, a family. I always heard them speak lovingly of each other. They built each other up. They were not perfect but their love was special. Unique. Rare. It really is God's mercy that they are together again. They really wanted to celebrate their 67 anniversary together.....it is later this month.....and we thought they wouldn't be able to. They will. I bet Granny was surprised to see him there!
I can see God's hand and his goodness all over this situation. He is so real. He cares about the details of life. I am sad. I loved my Papa. I was so proud of him.
He was a war hero. He was bigger then life to me. He was faithful to the end. He spent every single night with Granny, while she was in the hospital and hospice. And we are talking months not weeks. He slept in the hospital recliner....and later at hospice he had a cot beside her bed. That is love. He gave up his comfort to be with his beloved. As the minister said today, and I have often thought, Nicolas Sparks had nothing on my Granny and Papa's love story.
Papa was a hard worker. He loved his family. He was so proud of his children. He thought Mama and Tommy hung the moon. He loved when his great-grandchildren would give him hugs. He adored his grandchildren. Each and every one of us. I told everyone when I was a little girl that I was his favorite. My cousins would get so mad at me. He loved to tell that story. He told it about 5 times last night! I snuggled up right beside him and I drank it up. I cherished it. I didn't know it would be my last time in his arms. I felt like his favorite. But the truth is we were all his favorites. He loved us all the best. My heart aches. I am grieving.
I hurt thinking about my Mama. She doesn't have a Mama and Daddy here anymore. I can't even imagine. What do you do without a Mama and a Daddy? I know the truth she would speak. You run to Jesus. He is her father. You find shelter in his wing. You celebrate the time you had with them. You grieve and you hope. My Mama said today, "and by hope I mean assurance". YES! So glad Mama knows the truth. People said today, this is too much. It is a lot. But the truth is God measured it out. He portioned it out. He allowed it. He is good. Life is hard. It is painful. Mama has said many times: great sorrow is evidence of great love. So yes, the sorrow tonight is great.....but the love they showered over us in this lifetime was also great. Very great.
Thankful for the prayers. Thankful for the legacy Granny and Papa lived out over my entire life. Thankful for their daughter who is a product of such love, hard work, faithfulness. She is their child. Grateful for God's mercy.
I love the song Blessings and I can't help but think of the lyrics:
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
This hurts. This is sad and will take time to process but this is the end of a beautiful love story that I watched play out over my lifetime. Sad to see this chapter end.....but so glad the next chapter is so much better! It really is a happy ending. It just hurts to say goodbye. Like I said about Granny though, it is just a goodbye for now!