Two Christmases ago is the last time I remember actually sitting and talking with my Papa. That’s the last time I remember seeing him face to face. When his dementia began getting worse, shortly after my Grannie past, they made the decision to put him in a retirement home that specifically took care of people with dementia, it was hard to go see him. I didn’t want to see him like that. Didn’t want to remember him like that. Didn’t want to feel like I was forgotten.
I never realized how much I missed my Grannie until Larry Hastings began talking about her and how much she was loved by my Papa. To be honest growing up I never once remember any physical or verbal love shown between them. As far as I know my entire life they slept in separate beds (something about Papa’s snoring but I think it was Grannie’s snoring because I had to sleep with her when I spent nights there and she kept me awake). So when Grannie passed it was very hard seeing how torn up like he was. Larry Hastings said it right when he said when my Grannie passed a part of my Papa physically died too because shortly after that and maybe even during that grieving time period was when his mind seemed to really begin to fade.
The message at the funeral home by Larry Hastings and the special song by Arthur Payne was more than beautiful and spot on for my family. But at the grace side service, when the guns blasted three times and the horn played shortly after it gave cold chills up your spine. Then I looked over and lost it. Seeing my cousin’s husband in his dress blues saluting, I broke as I think we all did. It was a touching moment and one that will never be forgotten.
Our family friend of 20+ years, who I enjoy going on photo road trips with occasionally, came down from East TN to support us as well as capture a few photos of the honor guards for us. This really meant more than almost anything to us. When a person takes time out of their busy weekend to drive 4 hours just for 24 hours to take a few snap shots says a lot. Means a lot. Shows you how much they really love and appreciate you.
Death is always a heard thing, something excepted because you know we all have to experience it, but it’s never easy. The hardest part of me is all the memories start rushing back. Out of 6 of us cousins me and my brother probably have more memories with my Papa because we live right next door all of our life. So many memories of sitting out on the patio together singing Diggin’ Up Bones while it played on the little black box radio in the summer time heat or listening to Atlanta Braves (wonder I’m not a Braves fan-I’m not) on the same little black box radio, to memories of him picking me up at daycare in the afternoons, to going to auctions on Saturday mornings to hear him holler out prices on the next antique up on the block to purchase and going to the realty office while he worked, to picking up golf balls on the golf course that opened next door, to later in life just sitting around talking about baseball games, buying a house, vacations and just what the weather looked like outside. Those are the memories and tons more hidden away deep in my heart that continue to this day rush back. Memories that will fade one day probably. Fade probably like his mind did over the last year as mine probably will too.
From Friday to Sunday was a complete blessing. It was one of those weekends that you really felt the love and compassion from your true friends. Those friends that have been with you through thick and thin and though you may not even see some of them but once a year if that, they are always there for you during tough times. And then those that you do see almost every day of your life really show you how much they do care. I wish I could name each one that passes my mind that was such a blessing to us over this tough weekend but I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, but you know who you are. Those special moments when someone makes you feel more than special, puts you first in their life to let you know they care are those moments that though sometimes awkward for some come right at the right moment for the one experiencing hurt and lose. At moment like that words can’t express the sympathy one feels for another, at that moment actions speak louder than words and from Friday to Sunday actions of those around us who love and care about us spoke louder than anyone anywhere. It was greatly appreciated and I hope when the day comes that those of you who expressed that toward us we can reciprocate it back to you.