Saying Goodbye

As y'all know, my papa recently passed away. He is my first grandparent to go and you talk about tough? Man oh man. I feel extremely blessed that this is the first death in my immediate family, making it twenty-two years before that happened is a good thing. I have to be honest, it still doesn't feel very real. I feel like I'm looking in on someone else's life and it's not actually my own. 

My papa had a contagiously sweet spirit. Every time I'd go to his house or he'd come to mine he'd say, "Have I told you something lately? I love you". You have no idea how much I'm going to miss hearing those words, or when the door would open and his back would be to it and he'd say "I HEEEEAR somebody" and I'd reply "hey papa!" and he'd say "there's my baby girl". Sweet, sweet moments friend. 

He was never without his cane, twelve hundred tissues and his hanky, "sav" for scrapes and cuts (which was actually just fancy neosporin lol), a cold glass of ice water, and laughs for days. He couldn't hear a thing and you'd have to holler every conversation you had with him. He always came over on Christmas day to see my gifts and each one I'd show him he'd clap his hands and say "Isn't that pretty grandmama, just look at that!". He loved wind chimes and has at least 10 hanging around his sitting area outside of the house. He was also a huge fan of rigging up things with whatever he had in the house, we always got good laughs out of his creations. He LOVED South Carolina football. He bought a new shirt to wear for the opening football game on Thursday, and how appropriate that his funeral was that day. If you're wondering if we buried him in his new shirt, you bet we did. He'd have it no other way than supporting his Gamecocks!

I'm fairly certain papa had been sick for awhile, but he loved his home so much, he didn't want to go to the hospital until he absolutely had to. It is HARD watching someone finish their life in a hospital, really hard. And this whole thing happened so fast. So, once he got there, things escalated so quickly, it was hard for my mind to catch up to what was going on in front of me. His first few days in the hospital, I just kept waiting for the call that we were going to take him home soon.  I know I had to have told him at least five hundred times while he was in ICU how much I loved him, what a good papa he was, and to not worry, I would take such good care of granny when he was gone. A side note, my mom and my granny are my girls. My sidekicks. My people. My crew. My heart. Three peas in a pod, those ladies and me. 

When we got home from the hospital on the day papa went to heaven, I was laying on our rug in the middle of the living room, crying. I told Josh "Papa loved you a lot. And he especially loved you for how much you love and care for his baby girl". Obviously, more tears ensued after this. Papa had a way about him where he would sometimes just sit back in his chair when all of his family was around and he'd watch us interact and love and pick on each other and I just know he was soaking it all in and we all made his heart so happy. That man loved his family so, so much. 

Watching someone take their last breath is totally an out of body experience. I didn't know what to do with myself. The monitors were showing that his heart beat was slowing and his breathes were few and far between and there you are in the midst of it all, and all you can do is watch and wait. I have never felt so helpless in my life and I hope I never feel that way again. I was tugging at my clothes, standing up, sitting down, over and over again, all the while sobbing, because it was happening and there was nothing we could do.

But looking back on it, while we were all crying and emotional wrecks, angels were singing and papa was making his way home to his Father. Chill bumps, y'all, chill bumps. 

The time we spent in the hospital completely and utterly drained everything out of me. Exhaustion set in, I had no more brain space or power left, mentally blank is exactly what I was. Leaving the hospital that Monday was almost as hard as watching papa go. I didn't want to walk out. I didn't want to go because I knew I wouldn't ever be able to come back in there and see papa again. I sat in my car just looking in my rear view, I truly had to force myself to drive away. But glory be to God that papa and I will reunite again in heaven one day. Praise, praise, praise! 

Funeral arrangements are hard, it's all business and you just lost a loved one. Those things don't mix well, at least not for me. Decisions here, decisions there, call this person, call that person, set up this appointment, go here for this appointment. Yeesh. It tires me just writing that out. 

But here we are, past all of that and I take comfort in the fact that it was papa's time to go and God was ready to bring his son home. Papa's suffering ended and he probably danced and jived all the way to heaven. Now it's time for us to start healing, I'm not exactly sure how that goes quite yet, but I know that we'll figure it out, and we'll be ok. My family loves each other so much and through this hard time, I have loved every minute of extra time we've got to spend together, even though we spent most of it crying. Just being surrounded by them made my heart happy.

I was laying in bed the other night and this whole grief, loss, and mourning business hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't know what the healing journey looks like, but I know the Lord will take care of my heart.

Papa, I love you so much, but you already know that. I can't wait to see you in heaven again one day and we will dance and sing and laugh, just like we did when you were here. I'm glad you aren't in pain anymore and that you are free from illness, doctors, and medicine. You sure were one fantastic papa. Thank you for all the slumber parties and naps you let me take in your lap growing up. Thank you for all the rides around the yard pulling me in the wagon. Thank you for never sending me home empty handed and never letting a scrape on my knee go un-kissed. Thank you for loving me so well. I promise that I will take the best care of granny while she is here without you, I love that little lady so much, she's my heart and soul, so don't you worry one bit about her. We are going to celebrate your life. First holidays will be hard without you, but I'm so glad that I know you're looking down on us. And I promise that we will always cheer extra hard for the Gamecocks every football season. You were a great man papa and I won't lie, I miss you so much and it hurts so bad. But enjoy yourself up there in heaven, you hear? We'll all be there with you one day, save us a spot. Have I told you lately, that I love you? Have I told you, there's no one else above you? You feel my heart was gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles, that's what you do...and at the end of the day, we'll give thanks and pray, to the One, to the One. 

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